Education Talking Points 01-03-2016

education talking points

More effort needed from G20 Countries to Lift Australian Education

While many had high hopes for Australian’s 2016 education sector, a new analysis by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development raises speculation as to whether G20 countries will meet their commitment to boost their combined GDP growth by an extra 2 per cent by 2018. A subsequent report by the OECD says that Australia must improve all levels of education – to boost the long-term productive and innovative capacity of its economy and that that this “will be crucial” to boost sustainable economic growth. The report says the commitment to raise G20 countries’ GDP by more than 2 per cent by 2018 relative to what it would have been otherwise was a welcome initiative, however more effort is needed by these countries in 2016 to fulfil this objective. Click here for full article.


Canberra an Unpopular Choice Among International Students

Canberra has been rated Australia’s second least popular capital for migrants, most likely a consequence of their citizenship requirements for public service work and limited private sector options. Australian National University Professor Peter McDonald says that the established networks in larger capitals are a drawing factor for most international students, with Chinese and Indian migrants predominantly heading to Sydney or Melbourne. In 2011, the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that migrants living in Canberra accounted for only 25.3 per cent of the population, well below Sydney and Melbourne with 39 and 35 per cent respectively. Professor McDonald said Canberra’s universities were the biggest single drawcard for migrants, but across the nation Chinese students in particular were not staying on as long as expected after graduation. ANU’s new Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said last month he’d like about one-third of undergraduate students to be from overseas, up from the current 22 per cent figure. Click here for full article.


CSIRO Concerned Over the Increasing Number of Unqualified Australian Graduates

The CSIRO has warned that a lack of enrolments in maths and science degrees in Australia raises concerns about the employability of future graduates. In a forecast of Australia’s future employment trends over the next 20 years and found that automation and offshoring will set the bar higher for entry-level jobs, demanding science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills, or STEM skills as they’re collectively called. Over the past 20 years, Australian students are graduating with lower levels of qualification in these areas. Year 12 students studying mathematics and IT courses dropped approximately 11 per cent from 1992 to 2012. STEM knowledge is now required for almost 75 per cent of the fasted-growing occupations and Australia is at risk of being left behind. Click here for full article.


New Australian Anti-bullying Initiative Questioned Over Its Underlying Messages

Government MP George Christensen has likened the Australia’s new anti-bullying initiative to child grooming, claiming that the program recommends pornographic content and teaches children to bypass parental internet filters to access certain websites. Malcolm Turnbull has urged calm heads in a debate sparked by Christensen’s accusations, encouraging the public to discuss these issues “in very measured language, and to consider very carefully the impact of the words they use on young people and on their families”. While the Safe Schools program is aimed at stamping out homophobia and transphobia in schools, a number of Coalition MPs and senators have called for a review into whether the program is age-appropriate and educationally sound. Despite the controversy, the program’s coordinators said more schools had signed up to be part of the initiative. Click here for full article.