The Victorian Primary Principals Association has called on the Victorian Government to abandon its new funding system for students with language disorders, the Language Disorder Program, describing it as an 'unjust' policy that puts children with special needs at a disadvantage. See report in The Age 24 March 2005.
A senior Catholic education official in New South Wales has supported the introduction of identity numbers for school students to help monitor their academic progress. He said unique identifiers given to children when they started kindergarten, similar to a Medicare number, would allow ready access to academic information when children changed schools. The State Minister for Education, Carmel Tebbutt, has supported a national system of student identity numbers. See article in Sydney Morning Herald 29 March 2005.
In Britain, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has 'shamed the Blair Government into spending millions of pounds to try to kick junk food off school lunch menus'. See report in The Australian, 22 March 2005.
The expansion of vocational education risks creating a deep division between acadmic and vocational paths in England's school system, according to union leader Dr Mary Bousted, of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers. The government's white paper on education for 14–19 year-olds calls for much more workplace training in the secondary curriculum. See report in TES 24 March 2005.
A survey of over 1,000 science teachers in the USA found that nearly one third feel pressured to include creationism-related ideas in the classroom, and to omit or de-emphasise evolution-related topics. The survey was held by the National Science Teachers' Association. See article in USA Today 23 March 2005.
The French parliament has approved a controversial education bill that has prompted angry marches by 130,000 students throughout the country. The bill provides for an extension of foreign language teaching and guaranteed extra tuition for failing students. But the students and teacher unions are concerned about funding, staff levels, deteriorating premises and the right of police to enter schools in search of drugs or weapons. See report in Yahoo! News 25 March 2005.
Rural and remote schools account for half the number of schools in the government sector in Queensland. The Queensland Government is currently addressing the particular needs of these schools through its Rural and Remote Education Framework for Action 2003–2005. Education Views contains an update of many of the intiatives which are being undertaken to improve education outcomes for students in the rural and remote areas of Queensland. Among those initiatives are strategies for better recruitment of staff, assistance with teacher professional development, programs to improve retention rates to Year 12 and action to improve ICT access for students and schools in outlying areas. For more information see article in Education Views.
Students in Adelaide's north-eastern suburbs will now have access to schools that specialise in a vocational learning area, an initiative which is part of the 'technical schools of the future' model. Under the Futures Connect program, schools are encouraged to collaborate with training providers and industry to provide vocational options for students, and by using the 'technical schools of the future' approach, schools in a network can choose to specialise in specific vocational areas. For more information see News Release, 23 March 2005.
The Australian Government's scheme to provide one-to-one tuition for struggling readers in Year 3 is soon to begin in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, where preferred bidders to run the program have been decided. Parents and care providers for the children can apply for a tutorial voucher with a value of $700 for each eligible child. See media statements for each State and Territory. See relevant Ministerial media statements.
Australia is facing 'a shortfall crisis in the professions as well as in the trades', according to a report in Campus Review 16 March 2005, p. 1 (fee-based access). There is a growing shortage of professionals in accounting and engineering. Some IT companies are also reporting staff shortages. The number of undergraduates commencing university courses has dropped by 10,000 over last four years.