EDUCATION Minister Jeremy Rockliff was spot-on on Wednesday when he said that improving the state’s education system is about a lot more than just money and numbers.
Tasmania has traditionally struggled on a national stage in terms of educational outcomes.
Years of NAPLAN testing proves this.
But one thing is for certain: having more teachers in classrooms can only improve those outcomes for our children, particularly at primary school age – a time considered to be the most important for positive outcomes.
On Wednesday, Mr Rockliff announced that the government would bolster the state’s teacher numbers by 213.
That’s to be commended. As is the plan to raise the leaving requirement to year 12 (or when a student turns 18). Keeping kids in school longer can only be a positive move.
However, one only needs to cast our minds back to 2014, when that same state Liberal government cut 266 jobs from the education sector. That figure wasn’t exclusively those traditional front-line teaching staff, and included aides and office staff.
Regardless, yesterday’s announcement is still a backflip of sorts and, given the benefit of hindsight, perhaps the original decision wasn’t entirely in the best interests of the state.
The government will of course disagree and say it was part of a much larger plan to help bring the state’s ailing budgetary situation back under control.
As if by coincidence, the country’s NAPLAN testing results were also released publicly yesterday. Tasmania’s traditional poor showing in the results has undeniably improved in recent years and that improvement continued yesterday.
In 2013, Tasmanian students recorded the second-lowest result in the country in 14 of the 20 assessment areas of reading, persuasive writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation and numeracy.
A year later, those figures improved to just 11 second-lowest results of the 20 assessment areas.
There was again an improvement last year, with the state finishing second-last in just 10 of the 20 areas. While there’s still plenty of improvement to be made, there is definitely a growing light at the end of the tunnel.
Things are improving, as they need to. But there needs to be generational change for things to really progress. And the onus on making sure our children receive the best possible education shouldn’t just fall to just teachers. Parents and carers of all our kids need to realise the extremely important role they play, too.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.