Education Talking Points | 16/01/2018


In today’s talking points: Australian university to become fully solar powered; West Australian Government reverses funding cuts; Cost of education soars; Parents demand greater punishment for bullying 


Australian university to become fully solar powered

The University of New South Wales has unveiled plans to become the first fully solar powered university in Australia in a release on Monday. The arrangement is a collaboration between Maoneng Australia, Origin Energy and UNSW, set to be unrolled over the next 15 years. Professor Ian Jacobs, UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor, said the plan went towards the university’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2020 and its focus on global impact. Under the plan the university is set to buy 124,000MWh of energy from the Maoneng Sunraysia Solar Farm, meeting all of its annual energy needs. Following its construction, the Sunraysia Farm is set to produce over 530,000MWh of electricity per year. 

Read more at: Xinhua

West Australian Government reverses funding cuts

Following large public outcry the WA state government has announced it will reverse its decision to close the state’s School of the Air, part of the $64 million worth of cuts to education announced in December. State Education Minister Sue Ellery said the government had made mistakes around the decision, stating on Twitter that ‘[They] had got the balance wrong].’ The reversal will save the education $24 million worth of funding, which the government has said will be taken from other departments. Prior to the decision, the Isolated Children’s Parents Association had described the move as ‘absolutely brutal.’ The SOTA aids students across rural Western Australia, with campuses in Carnarvon, Kalgoorlie, the Kimberley, Meekatharra and Port Hedland. 

Read more at: ABC

Cost of education soars

ASG’s Planning for Education Index revealed today that the cost of sending a child to an Australian metropolitan school has risen 64% for private and 25% for public over the last decade. Data was sourced from more than 13,500 families, cost estimating based on tuition, uniforms, stationary and excursions. From years K-12:
Most Expensive (Private): Sydney, $AUD 575,140
Most Expensive (Public): Melbourne, $AUD 77,500
Least Expensive (Private): Brisbane, $AUD 106,769
Least Expensive (Public): Perth, $AUD 54,766
The survey also noted that whilst the cost of education overall has risen 61% in ten years, wages have only risen 34%.

Read more at: ASG

Parents demand greater punishment for bullying 

A recent study from the University of South Australia’s Prof. Ken Rigby found parents want school policies to focus on rectifying bullies rather than encouraging resilience in the vulnerable child. 50% of the respondents, 167 parents of non-/bullied children, had been bullied and their parents highly critical of the school’s response. Further in 40% of cases action taken by schools, “either made no difference or created even more problems for their children”. Crucially Rigby states, “The perception that bullying is increasing is because in the past it was hidden and not discussed. Now there is a lot more awareness of it”. Most of the described bullying was non-physical (cruel teasing and exclusion), afterwards was cyber then physical violence. 

Read more at: UniSA