Educational Inequity In Australia

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It is well known that in Australia not all schools experience the same amount of funding and therefore provide the same quality of education as each other. This is true in almost every country on earth however there are a number of reasons why this issue is worse in Australia than it needs to be, and worse than many comparable developed nations. Some children living in Australia have access to some of the best education in the world, but many people who cannot afford private education receive education well below an acceptable standard for Australia

In order for all schools in Australia to provide the same high quality of education, redistribution of government funding is absolutely necessary. This huge inequity is best highlighted by the fact that 50% of all 22 billion dollars spent on capital projects in Australian schools was spent by just 10% of schools. The same 10% of schools also received 28% of the 8.6 billion dollars of governments funds allocated to this area during the same period. Sheidow Park Primary School is a smaller urban school only minutes away from some of schools in the richest 10 percent. They had $25,005 of capital expenditure, none of which was from the government. This unfair overfunding of already wealthy schools does nothing to make these schools easier to access as fees are never lowered. It encourages extravagant excess on behalf of schools allowing indoor olympic swimming pools, yoga studios, indoor running tracks, and 800 seat auditoriums to become regular upgrades, while the poorest schools in Australia have to replace torn carpet 2 classrooms per year, have 4 times as many portable classrooms as permanent ones, or use a school hall that fits only half of their rapidly growing school population inside it. If government funds were more fairly allocated to lower income schools it would greatly improve the quality of the education of the children at the schools without in anyway drastically changing the education received at high income independent and Catholic schools.

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The people who have set up our education system to be the way it is claim that boosting government funding for independent and Catholic schools helps make these schools more affordable for parents. This is the aim of the 1.9 billion dollar 'Choice and Affordability Fund' that will be distributed to non-government schools over the next 10 years. What schools choose to do with this funding for them to choose, leading this initiative to be described as a 'slush fund' for already wealthy schools. Pasi Sahlberg, a professor of educational policy at the University of New South Wales says, 'we need to fix current inequalities, in and out of schools before educational excellence can truly be achieved'. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) supports this notion, trying to encourage member states (including Australia) to invest more systematically in educational equity. Sahlberg reinforces that 'competition between schools delivers bad outcomes'. Many Nordic countries are regarded as having some of the best education systems in the world. For people who live in these countries choosing a school for their child is an easy task. They can be confident that the education their child will receive in their local public school will be just as good as any of the others, and of a world class standard. Australia is a similar developed nation to many of these countries, ranking slightly above many of these countries in the human development index, however when it comes to the overall quality of our education system taking into account school completion rates for all year levels, test scores, adult literacy rates and infrastructure, we do not even compete on the same field.

A world class education for all students is an attainable goal for Australia, however policy decisions based on 60 year old economic theory and a middle class ignorant of the struggles faced by many Australians limit Australia's ability to develop the fair and high quality education system that we need. Redistributing funding towards struggling public schools would help to level the playing field for Australian children and close the rich/poor divide that has been growing in Australia. It is within our reach to have a system where all children are well educated in a world class system, so why hasn’t it happened yet?

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Educational Inequity In Australia. (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
“Educational Inequity In Australia.” Edubirdie, 09 Jun. 2022,
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