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Wednesday, 20 May 1970

Mr Grassby (RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:

(1)   Is the Commonwealth Government carrying out an inquiry into education.

(2)   If so (a) what is the scope of the inquiry and how is it being carried out, (b( who is engaged in the inquiry, (c) when was it commenced, (d) when is the report expected, and (d) will the report be made available to the Parliament and to interested bodies.

Mr N H Bowen (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

01)   The Commonwealth Government is at present conducting a number of inquiries into particular aspects of education such as the teaching of Asian languages and cultures in Australian schools. 1 assume however that the honourable member's question refers to the nationwide survey of educational needs which is currently in progress. Although the Commonwealth Government is participating in this survey in respect of the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, the survey is sponsored by the Australian Education Council which comprises the si* State Ministers of Education.

(2)   (a) and (b) The Australian Education Council survey covers all aspects of primary and secondary education and teacher education in government and non-government schools. It is being carried out by the education departments and by the non-government school authorities in each State. As already indicated my Department is conducting comparable surveys for the A.C.T. and the Northern Territory, (c) The Survey of government schools was commenced in mid 1969 and non-governmental schools were invited to participate later in the year, (d) At the Australian Education Council Conference, held in Perth on 23 and 24 February 1970, the principal item of business was a review of progress of this survey. At that Conference, the State Ministers and I agreed to set up a working party of departmental officers to review the material produced for each State and the two mainland territories and to present a co-ordinated report to a special meeting of Ministers to lake place on 25 May. The final report of the survey is expected to be completed later in J970. (e) As the survey is under the sponsorship of the Australian Education Council, any publication of the report is a matter for the Council to decide.

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