Australia: Class War in the Classroom?

Network Ten
Publication Date:
Mon, 08/10/2012 - 10:47
4 minutes
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Australia spends a higher proportion of public money on private schools than other developed countries except Chile and Belgium, according to the latest OECD Education at a Glance.

The Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard attempts to thrash out a new school funding deal with the states amid a debate over government spending on private schools.

She is proposing the Commonwealth and states spend an extra $6.5 billion a year on education, contingent on reforms to improve teacher quality and student performance. Her ''legislated goal'' is for Australian students to be ranked in the top five countries in maths, reading and science by 2025, positions currently occupied by Finland, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea.

The OECD report found 68.6 per cent of public expenditure on schooling in Australia in 2009 went to the state system, compared with 99.2 per cent in the US, 88.1 per cent in Finland and 85.2 per cent in Korea. The average was 85.8 per cent.

Ms Gillard recently promised that every independent school would receive more money and defended big private schools while Opposition Leader Tony Abbott suggested private schools were getting a rough deal.


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