A major new national study reveals that Australian education systems, while working well for some, are failing up to one in three children and young people.
The report – Educational opportunity in Australia 2020: who succeeds and who misses out – was set up to assess how well our education and training systems in Australia are meeting the national objectives for education as specified in the 2019 Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Education Declaration.
The Declaration, signed by all Australian education ministers, aspires to education and training that achieves excellence and equity. It commits to supporting all young Australians to become:
- confident and creative individuals
- successful lifelong learners
- active and informed citizens.
The report, prepared by researchers at CIRES and the Mitchell Institute, draws together information from a variety of sources to measure how well the national goals for education are being met. The indicators cover the various stages of learning and development from early childhood through to early adulthood.
Results show that while our systems are working well for a number of young Australians, teaching them the skills needed for contributing effectively to modern workplaces and communities, about one-fifth to one-third of young people are behind or missing out on most indicators.
There are very uneven levels of learning across different groups of young Australians and wide gaps in achievement as learners progress from stage to stage. Young people from poorer backgrounds, Indigenous Australians, and rural students experience high rates of non-completion of school, and poorer outcomes. For these Australians, our systems are not functioning well, raising a question about the quality of education and the capacity for meeting the needs of all young Australians.
Many young Australians are not acquiring the lifelong learning skills and not mastering the knowledge and competencies needed to become creative and confident individuals and active and informed citizens. Australia must do better to lift academic learning across all stages of education and training, and also do better at developing the broader skills that young Australians need.
Client: Mitchell Institute