Federal election 2016 education explainer: Schools, universities, TAFE


Parents of school-age children will be keeping a close eye on whether a Labor or Liberal Government will deliver on Gonski funding to schools.

Students and those contemplating higher education study, on the other hand, will look at what improvements, if any, will be made across the country’s universities and tertiary institutions.

Here are just four issues which are set to dominate when it comes to education.

In April, the Australian Education Union cited guaranteed funding for TAFEs as a major election issue.
AEU Federal TAFE secretary Pat Forward said the TAFE system was under threat from policies “which encouraged dodgy private providers and stripped funding from TAFEs”.
He called for stronger controls on private providers, a suspension of the VET FEE HELP scheme and a guarantee of funding for TAFEs.

So what are the major parties offering or planning to do in this area if elected?

In February, the Coalition revealed its plan to take over TAFE funding from the states which would see vocational education and training fees deregulated.

The plan, which was met with resistance from the states, would also see government-owned colleges funded at the same levels as private training providers, the ABC reported.

The Coalition said any such plan wouldn’t take place before 2018.

Under a Shorten government, Labor maintains it is committed to providing young Australians with a top quality higher education and pledged to restore funding to TAFE.

Under its National Priority Plan, Labor said it would work with the states and territories to provide ongoing funding which would be guaranteed, while honing in on “unscrupulous private providers”.

You may have heard the word Gonski thrown around in recent times, but might not know what it means.

Under the Gonski plan — from a report by consultant David Gonski — two thirds of extra schools revenue was to have come from the federal government and a third from the states. The federal government would take most of the responsibility for supporting disadvantaged schools.

That would cost an extra $4.5 billion in 2018 and 2019, estimates show.

What have both parties promised here for schools?

The Turnbull Government has said it will give schools an extra $1.2 billion from 2018 to 2020.

However it has only committed to funding the first four years of Gonski, in addition to this.

A Turnbull Government said it will commit $48 million to help 24,000 of Australia’s most disadvantaged children with their education through The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program.

It also pledged an additional $60 million to extend the Sporting Schools Programme.

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