Victorian students, teachers and school communities will be well served by a new state parliament inquiry into education.
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Education, Melina Bath successfully established an inquiry to Victoria’s state education system today.
It will examine learning outcomes in state school Prep to Year 12 students, impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic on student learning and wellbeing, and importantly, the state of teaching profession including teacher retention.
Despite a negative stance from Labor MPs the Inquiry passed with broad support from the crossbench.
Ms Bath said the Legal and Social Issues Committee will examine the issues impacting student learning outcomes and better support teachers to stay in the profession.
“Our state education system is under significant pressure, with families paying more and receiving less when it comes to Victorian public education,” said Ms Bath.
“The Andrews Government spends the least of any Australian government on education, whilst Victorian parents pay the most – over $100,000 for one child from prep to Year 12.
“Labor’ has repeatedly refused to address the teacher shortage crisis, declining student results, or the scaling back or cancelling school camps and outdoor activities.
“Better supporting students and teachers must become a priority.”
The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has highlighted the long term decline in students’ reading, mathematics and science.
PISA reports that the maths decline in Australian students is the equivalent to more than a full year of school, while the decline in science and reading are almost a full year.
Ms Bath said the gaps were continuing to widening between city students, and those in regional and remote areas, between indigenous students and non-indigenous students and males and females.
“As a former teacher I seek the best outcomes for our students and an education system that is designed and resourced to let teachers teach.
“In March there were nearly 1000 teaching jobs advertised by the Department of Education and many schools are struggling trying plug holes.
“It’s unsustainable to have highly skilled teachers becoming burnout and exiting the profession, and a decline in student mental health and behaviours.
Submission will soon open via the Legal and Social Issues Committee at https://new.parliament.vic.gov.au/get-involved/committees/legislative-council-legal-social-issues/. The report will be delivered to State Parliament by June 25, 2024