SYDNEY, 26 June 2017
– UNICEF broadly welcomes the passage through parliament of legislation that delivers an additional $23.5 billion of needs-based funding to Australian Schools.
This reform seeks to deliver consistent, transparent, and needs-based Commonwealth funding for schools. We know that inclusive and quality education is critical for children’s development, but it is so much more than that.
“Quality education is the closest thing we have to a ‘silver-bullet,’” said Tony Stuart, CEO at UNICEF Australia.
“It’s an equalizer and a foundation for leading full lives and creating vibrant societies. Schools are ultimately a public good and education is a project that belongs to all of us.
“We broadly welcome this reform and commend the Government for its support of quality, needs-based funding for Australian children. We commend those Parliamentarians who negotiated to deliver important reform of Commonwealth funding of education in this country.
“But it is what comes next that is important,” argued Mr Stuart. “The real work of Gonski 2.0 starts now.”
Over the coming six months, David Gonski, will conduct the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools, delivering his report by December 2017.
“A real discussion about education cannot be had solely in financial terms; it’s a national conversation about the aims of our state and territory education systems. Financial investment is not sufficient –we need a dedicated vision and approach to building inclusive and quality education.
“As Australians, we need to talk about how we create quality learners in the early years, pedagogy, teacher training and support, engaging curriculum, school leadership, children’s participation and autonomy in learning, and closing the sharp gap that poverty frequently creates in educational outcomes.”
UNICEF calls for comprehensive engagement with the Gonski 2.0 review and reiterates the need for bipartisan support and a long term vision for education in Australia.
“We need politicians to set aside differences and to commit to working toward the best interests of children and in the national interest,” concluded Mr Stuart.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.au
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For more information, please contact:
Laura Gibbons, UNICEF Australia, 04 35206273, [email protected]