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OECD confirms Government's education reforms have delivered

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SENATOR THE HON CHRIS EVANS Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research Leader of the Government in the Senate


11 September 2012 (Embargoed until 7pm 11 Sept 2012)

OECD confirms Government’s education reforms have delivered

An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report released today confirms that the Gillard Government’s education policies and investment have provided record numbers of Australians with a higher education.

The Education at a Glance 2012 report reveals that in 2010, 34 per cent of Australians aged 25 to 34 years had attained a Bachelor degree or above qualification; six points higher than the OECD average. Australia was ranked seventh amongst OECD countries in this achievement.

The data shows that the Government is on track to achieve its ambitious target of 40 per cent of 25 to 34 year-olds holding a Bachelor degree or above by 2025.

Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans, welcomed the OECD report as proof that the Government’s policies have opened up the higher education landscape.

“The Gillard Government’s decision to take the cap off university enrolments, and offer a place to all students with the desire and ability, has transformed our universities and changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Australians,” Senator Evans said.

“Many of the 150,000 additional students now attending university are from regional and rural areas or Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds and are the first in their family to go to university.”

The OECD figures are consistent with the recent Australia’s Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Survey of Education and Work data, which showed that in 2011, 56,000 young Australians had attained a university qualification - equating to 35 per cent of 25 to 34 year olds.

Women already reached the Government’s target of 40 per cent in 2011.

“A university education is a ticket to a better working future for individuals, families and communities and it helps us secure higher productivity and higher living standards over the longer term,” Senator Evans said.

“We are opening up access to university to students of all backgrounds and ensuring we have the skilled workforce the Australian economy needs.”

Senator Evans’ Media Contact: Amy McKenna 0408 570 603