Education Minister attacks ‘sameness’ of ACT public schools
ACT Education Minster Andrew Barr has declared the need for reform in the territory’s public education sector after a recent survey showed more parents are choosing to send their children to private, rather than public, secondary schools.
Mr Barr will release a report encourage public schools to forge relationships with universities and to start to specialize in specific areas of study.
Mr Barr’s pledge to reform the public schooling sector comes as figures show that Canberra’s private schools have 9,700 students enrolled, compared to the 9,500 attending the city’s public schools.
Mr Barr concedes that returning the public education sector to the majority education provider of the territory will take time.
"My goal out of the high school and college review is to see the public high school system return to majority provider status, so move back above 50 per cent provision," he said.
"That won't occur in one year, it will take a number of years to turn this situation round."
The ACT council of Parents and Citizens Associations Spokeswoman Vivienne Pearce says that the figures come as little surprise, saying that the territory’s public education sector receives less funding than the private sector.
She says Canberra parents may also be better able to afford private tuition.
"Canberra as we know compared to a lot of places in Australia is relatively affluent. Therefore we've probably got a higher proportion of people who have a choice," she said.