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Thursday, 30 April 1987
Page: 2077

Senator PARER —My question is directed to the Minister for Education. I refer the Minister to a news release she issued on Tuesday, 28 April, in which she stated that the Commonwealth Government had never supported the abolition of external exams, and further commented that the Commonwealth fully endorsed the desire, expressed particularly by business and industry groups, for an easily understood and readily applicable credential at the end of secondary school. In view of these comments, will the Minister be recommending to the Australian Capital Territory Schools Authority the reintroduction of external exams?

Senator RYAN —It is not the role of the Commonwealth Minister, be it me or anybody else, to direct independent education systems as to how they should conduct their assessment procedures. It certainly would not be my role as Commonwealth Minister to recommend to Mr Scholes or to the Schools Authority, which has the responsibility for these matters, along those lines. Nor would I see any reason to do so, since the assessment procedures that have been worked out and been in practice in the Australian Capital Territory for some time have proved to be satisfactory. By saying that they have proved to be satisfactory, I mean that they provide students with a credential which is acceptable and understandable to employers and provide students who qualify with ready access to Australia's universities and colleges. Indeed, when one tracks the performance of students from the Australian Capital Territory government school system in universities, one finds that they do extremely well. It would seem to me that, regardless of the fact that the Commonwealth is not in a position to make recommendations along these lines, the assessment procedures in the Australian Capital Territory are generally satisfactory and I can see no reason for recommending their change.