Nationalising Education is at Snails’ Pace
One of the drawbacks to Australian Education is its organisation by State and Territory rather than at National level. While some progress has been made in the direction of nationalising education, there is still a long way to go. A national curriculum is again on the agenda. The first attempt at a common Australian curriculum in the 1980’s failed. States and Territories refused to cede authority for what was being taught.
While States and Territories are again moving in the direction of a national curriculum, it is slowly, slowly. Parts of the national curriculum are being selectively adopted at different times and at different rates. It is almost as if local educational authorities and their curriculum support areas are cherry picking.
There have been moves toward national testing, the best example of this being NAPLAN which came into vogue from 2007. National comparison of students literacy and numeracy competencies takes place in May each year. However, other measures of success including Certificates of Education and Tertiary Entrance Rankings for Year 12 graduates are still the prerogative of State and Territory authorities.
The most glaring anomalies are in the areas of teacher education, registration and clearance to work with children. Teachers cannot move freely across state and territory boundaries in pursuit of employment. They must meet the rigid expectations of each authority.
We may be working toward nationalisation of education. But there is still a long way to go until the one system is embraced by our nation.
Part published in the Suns December 2016