Australia’s ‘staggering’ education divide

(Australian Associated Press)

 

EDUCATION INEQUALITY IN AUSTRALIA:

COMPARING THE MOST AND LEAST ADVANTAGED AREAS

* Children in most advantaged areas achieve on average double the score in reading, writing and numeracy tests

* Compared to the most advantaged areas, children in the 50 areas at greatest educational disadvantage are, on average:

– Half as likely to be enrolled in preschool at age four;

– Half as likely to attend preschool for 15 hours or more;

– Seven times more likely to be vulnerable on two or more developmental domains in first year of schooling

* Non-attendance rates are nearly five times a high, at 22 per cent

* Nearly half of young people in areas of greatest need are neither learning nor earning

 

WHERE ARE THE AREAS OF MOST DISADVANTAGE?

* All in very remote regions, spanning the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia

* Very low rates of preschool participation and attendance levels reaching prescribed 15 hours each week

* Very high rates of developmental vulnerability and school non-attendance

* Low achievement in NAPLAN testing

* Areas have a very dominant indigenous population

* Also pockets of disadvantage on fringes of state capital cities

 

WHERE ARE THE AREAS OF MOST ADVANTAGE?

* Majority in affluent Sydney suburbs, plus some in Melbourne

* Much lower levels of disadvantage across education spectrum:

– Higher engagement in preschool

– Very low proportions of children in first year of schooling showing signs of developmental vulnerabilities

– High achievement in NAPLAN testing

– Very high school attendance rates

– High youth engagement and low overall unemployment

* Number of the areas also house Australia’s elite independent schools and boarding houses

 

OTHER KEY FINDINGS:

* Child from low socio-economic background up to three times more likely to be developmentally vulnerable by the time starts primary school.

* Indigenous child 40 per cent less likely to finish high school and 60 per cent less likely to go to university compared with a non-indigenous child.

* Child born in remote Australia only a third as likely to go to university as child born in a major city.

* Division particularly noticeable in the NT, Queensland and WA, where gap between children living in the least and most disadvantaged areas is the widest.

* Schools in areas of greatest educational disadvantage receive income of $24,100 per student, compared to an average of $16,400 for top 50 areas.

* Huge gulf in access to internet away from school between lowest and highest ranked areas.

Source: Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre report on education inequality in Australia.

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