The Centre for Social Impact (CSI) has identified best practice and policy changes that are needed to remove education inequities in post-pandemic Australia.
Australia’s current education system is inequitable and not all students enjoy the same access and benefits that come from schooling. This is a major conclusion from CSI research and just-published issues paper.
“The last two years have brought into sharp focus the inequities in our education system and while the long-term impact of the pandemic is still being understood, there is no doubt that students from disadvantaged backgrounds are worse off than before, including young people with a disability, those from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds, low socio-economic or low socio-educational backgrounds, young people from regional and remote communities and those from refugee or asylum seeker backgrounds.”
Although focussed on school students (rather than post-secondary), these disadvantaged groups are the very same identified by Community Colleges Australia (CCA) as the highest-need vocational education and training (VET) students of adult and community education (ACE) providers.
One of CSI’s major recommendations is the importance to “invest in engagement programs that have successfully demonstrated measured and reported outcomes and socioeconomic benefits in order to reach more students in need.” This again perfectly reflects CCA’s emphasis on disadvantaged student re-engagement. CCA’s upcoming national conference in mid-September plans to address some of the challenges facing disadvantaged young people, with a focus on how Australia’s ACE providers contribute through special assistance secondary schools.
CSI further states:
“Addressing education inequity involves system-wide change, and solutions need to be approached through a systems thinking lens, as a coordinated effort between groups rather than it being the responsibility of a single stakeholder group.”
CSI founder and leading education academic Professor Peter Shergold AC says that the “important research shows the need for long-term planning and innovative thinking, if we are to provide young Australians with flexible educational pathways to employment satisfaction and active citizenship. It provides the evidence to inform and inspire reform.”