The Australian Education System is so terrible, its actually killing the country’s economy, says the chief economist of the National Education Union.
“If you want to get a sense of what it’s like to be an Australian student in this country, you should be able to find out the education outcomes,” Dr Simon Walker said.
The report from the NEDU’s School of Education and Skills and the Australian Education Association’s School Education Centre shows that, across the board, Australian students have significantly lower literacy and numeracy rates than the OECD average.
Education is so expensive in Australia that, on average, students in schools spend about 40 per cent more per year on school fees than their peers in the OECD.
And, in some schools, students are still spending a third more than their counterparts in the United States.
But, in most schools, the students who do get a degree are getting less than a bachelor’s degree, meaning they’re paying far more for their education.
In some cases, students may not even get a diploma at all, leaving them worse off than their more affluent counterparts.
Even worse, there’s a clear disconnect between the amount of money students are paying and the quality of their education, the report found.
Students who earn a high school diploma in the bottom third of their school year are about 10 per cent less likely to get an A-level, even though they’re still spending about $25,000 on fees.
What’s more, students who don’t go to university often struggle to find jobs.
More than half of students in the education sector earn less than $60,000, according to the report, and most of those jobs are in the service sector.
So, how are the graduates doing?
The Education Department said its working on an independent assessment of all schools, to see how they are doing, but said the results were “still a long way from definitive”.
“Our goal is to make sure all schools are doing better and have a better return on investment,” a spokeswoman said.
“However, there is no way to measure this at this stage.
A review of all education sector spending in 2017/18 found there were many schools that had a significant amount of student debt and that in many cases, there were gaps in outcomes that are not being met.”
The education department has proposed an “accountability framework” to look at schools’ performance, but it’s not clear how this will be funded.
As well as the report on student performance, Dr Walker has also produced a report on the health and wellbeing of Australian students, based on data from the national school health survey.