Independent Schools Queensland has provided the following reflection on the forthcoming State Election and its significance for education and for independent schools.We hope that you will take the time to read and be guided by what they have written.
The 2017 Queensland State Election is well underway. Education is a key social service accounting for almost one quarter of State Budget expenses. Families would therefore rightly expect to see it feature prominently during the current election campaign.
The recently released Productivity Commission report Shifting the Dial; 5 year productivity review reiterated an obvious but crucial point, that education is a critical element in driving future labour productivity, improved individual lifetime outcomes and national prosperity. It also stated that states and territories had “the greatest” policy responsibility to enact change.
Queensland’s schooling system has undergone significant reform over the past decade, including the addition of the Prep year, moving Year 7 to high school and comprehensive senior schooling changes that will start with Year 11s in 2019.
Many of the big reforms have been structural in nature and sought to bring Queensland into line with education systems interstate. Looking ahead, there is extensive national and international research that political parties can draw upon to develop a comprehensive and coordinated education policy platform that lifts student and state outcomes.
Schools, teachers and parents know that there are no silver bullets in education. Improvement at any level takes time and effort. But the rewards, such as seeing students find their passion or surpass their own expectations and excel, is what inspires and motivates educators. It should also be the driving force behind education policy formation and implementation. Impactful education reforms take time to craft, trial and implement. That’s why the ideas and policies put forward at this election are critical not only for students in school now, but for those starting their education tomorrow.
Independent Schools Queensland has created a dedicated 2017 State Election web page to keep schools and their communities informed about the latest election policy announcements on education.
Queensland students deserve the attention and investment of their next State Government. It would be a disservice to future generations to halt the education reform momentum in schools that has been built over the past decade. A world class education system, including a robust and diverse independent schools sector, is essential for a prosperous and economically strong Queensland.
From an economic perspective alone, Queensland independent schools support 31,000 jobs and add over $4 billion to the state economy each year. Independent school students also achieve world-leading results, with the most recent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results revealing they achieved the highest scores in reading and were second only to Singapore in science.
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