Monday, 05 March 2012 10:20Dr Bruce Flegg MPShadow Minister for Education and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander PartnershipsLNP Member for Moggill
2 March 2012
Distance education disadvantage made worse in rush to national curriculum
ONE of the most unacceptable education outcomes in Queensland was set to be worsened by the Bligh Labor government's decision to rush the introduction of the national curriculum ahead of other major states, the LNP said today.
LNP Shadow Minister for Education Dr Bruce Flegg said remote area parents educating children at home by distance education as well as children attending remote, small and single-teacher schools had all but been ignored by the tired, 20-year Labor government.
"Professor Masters and others have clearly highlighted that students achieve much lower levels in education in Queensland if they live in a remote area and Labor’s rushed decision on the national curriculum completely overlooks this fact and consequently the gap is set to worsen," Dr Flegg said.
Dr Flegg said only one-in-three students who entered prep this year had even been to a kindy (pre-prep) class.
"For distance education children and rural and remote children, including Indigenous children, that figure is even worse, but despite this low rate, kindergarten education is treated as prior knowledge expected of children undertaking the Australian curriculum in a prep class.
"This means parents and teachers of multi-level classes not only have to struggle with inadequate resources and technology, they also have to teach the prior knowledge their students had no opportunity to learn in kindergarten last year.
"The new curriculum, which is being taught in five-week blocks, is being prepared as we go along. The second five-week block, which students are now entering, is only just being completed. This is a huge imposition on parents teaching distance education as well as for small schools with multi-age classes who have had little or no time to prepare."
Dr Flegg said the C2C curriculum was heavily dependent on technology with embedded links in almost every lesson. Despite this, nine Queensland schools had totally inadequate internet connections and many schools and some distance education homes had little or very slow internet that was unable to deliver the technology.
"The new curriculum is not provided with home tutor guides," Dr Flegg said.
"New South Wales, despite already having universal attendance at kindergarten as well as Year 7 having long been part of high school, made the decision that the Australian curriculum was not yet sufficiently developed and resourced to implement in their schools and recently deferred again the introduction to 2014.
"Queensland students were already at a big disadvantage because of those factors, but have had to contend with a curriculum in its infancy with limited resourcing – because of tired Labor’s failure to plan and plan properly."
Dr Flegg said while NSW noted teacher professional development to implement the Australian curriculum along with support for distance education had been almost non-existent making it unwise to rush implementation, the Bligh Labor government had failed to secure any significant funding from the Commonwealth government to support teacher professional development, the cost of which has been estimated in the tens of millions of dollars.
"It’s a time for a change. It’s time to get Queensland back on track," Dr Flegg said.
Media contact - Dr Bruce Flegg 0431 133 639