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Australian Advisory Committee on Research and Development in Education

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Embargo: 2 p.m. Sunday, 28 June

1 970. 36/70


The Honourable Nigel Bowen, Q.C., M.P., Minister for Education and Science, today announced the members of the Australian Advisory Committee on Research and Development in Education, which is to hold its first meeting in Canberra on Monday 29 June.

The Minister recalled his announcement in the House of Representatives on 16 April 1970 that the Commonwealth was launching a program of support for research in education commencing with the provision of $250,000 in the 1970-71 Budget. The Committee was being established to advise the Minister on ways of implementing the program.

Among its functions the Advisory Committee may initiate research in areas of importance, or it may recommend for support proposals submitted to it by other organisations or individuals. It may also recommend assistance for the training of educational research personnel..

It is expected that the Committee will direct attention to the application of research findings, and to the interpretation and dissemination of results in such a way that they can be readily applied to practical situations.

As previously announced, the Chairman of the Committee is Professor P.H. Partridge, Professor of Social Philosophy at the Australian National University.

Other members are:

Mr R.S. Coggins, Principal, Salisbury Teachers' College, South Australia;

Professor S.S. Dunn, Professor of Education, Monash University; Professor A.G. Mitchell, Vice-Chancellor, Macquarie University;

Mr D.M. Morrison, Assistant Secretary, Policy and Research Branch, Department of Education and Science, Canberra.

Professor E.A. Russell, Professor of Economics, University of Adelaide; Mr D.J.A. Verco, Director-General of Education, New South Wales; Mr A.H. Webster, Director of Planning,

Department of Education, New South Wales; Mr W. Wood,.Director of Special Education Services, Department of Education, Queensland.

It is expected that one additional member will be appointed and a further announcement will be made at a later date.





I wish to give the House some details of further

assistance to be provided by the Commonwealth for research.

The provision of $250,000 in the 1970-71 Budget was announced

by the Right Honourable, the Prime Minister, in his policy

speech before the 1969 House of Representatives elections.

This provision is another active step by the Commonwealth

designed to improve the quality of Australian education and

thereby to advance the development of our society.

At present the Commonwealth is providing support

for educational research in a number of ways. The Australian

Research .Grants Committee has, since its inception, recom-mended for support selected educational research projects.

During this year for example grants totalling $80,000 will

be made for educational research under this scheme as com-pared with $32,000 in 1969.

Direct Commonwealth assistance for educational

research is also provided in the annual grant to the Austr-alian Council for Educational Research and in the sum of

$250,000 which has been made available during the 1967 -

1969 and the 1970 - 1972 triennia under the Advanced Education

program for research into the problems of colleges of

advanced education.


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The Commonwealth is providing assistance in other

ways, for example, through the special grants for research

and research training included in the program of assistance

for Universities. In addition there is the support given to

individual projects, which are concerned with curriculum dev-elopments. The Australian Science Education Project is one

such development -- this is a joint six State and Commonwealth

program of research into the development of improved courses

and materials for the teaching of science in the first four

years of our secondary schools. A further research project

currently supported by the Commonwealth is an investigation

into possible new methods of selection for tertiary studies

in the previous two years the Australian National University,

the University of Western Australia and the Tasmanian Educ-ation Department have been involved with the Commonwealth in

this project and in this year it is likely that all States

will be so involved.

Much is thus being done to support educational

research throughout Australia. Nevertheless it became app-arent from the number and type of requests for support which

were being made to us that there were problems requiring

research in Australia which called for additional measures

of support. So that we could obtain a more informed as^ess-ment of these problems, and of the ways in which they might

be solved, a meeting was held in Canberra during September

last year. This meeting was attended by a number of

Australian educationists from various spheres of interest who

met at the request of my predecessor to discuss the general

status of educational research in Australia.

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The report of the discussions which took place at

that meeting drew attention to a number of specific points.

It stressed that problems of communication, co-ordination

and identification of areas of national importance in

educational research exist at all levels of education. The

report stated that such work as was in progress consisted

for the most part of small projects and that comparatively

little was being done in priority areas,

Projects and experiments of a similar character

were apparently being carried out often independently of

each other. Hence the establishment of effective means of

communication of research findings and of research in pro-gress was seen by that meeting as one of the necessary

pre-requisites to any effective expansion of educational


The provision of $250,000 in the 1970-71 Budget

pursuant to the Prime Minister's promise in the policy

speech will ensure these problems are tackled.

I propose to establish a body, to be known as the

Australian Advisory Committee on Research and Development in

Education, to advise me on the ways in which this money

should be distributed. With the concurrence of the House, I

will have incorporated in "Hansard" the terms of reference

of this Committee,

There are several aspects of its terms of reference

which I would like to mention briefly. The Advisory Committee

may, itself, propose support for research in areas of import-ance where little is being done. Equally the Committee



may recommend for support projects which are submitted to it

for consideration. There will also be an. opportunityfor the

Committee to make a contribution towards measures for the

training of research personnel.

The Committee will be free to give consideration to

proposals submitted from government bodies, such as State

education departments, as well as from institutions,

Projects will be assessed in terms of their quality and the

contribution they will make to priority needs.

I would like to add a few remarks on the signific-ance of the development aspects of this program. If maximum

use is to be made of available resources, it is important

that attention should also be directed to the application of

findings and some emphasis will, therefore, be given to

interpreting and disseminating the results of research in

such a way that they can be readily applied to practical


I am pleased to be able to announce that Professor

P.H. Partridge of the Australian National University has

accepted an invitation to become the Committee's first

Chairman. The membership of the Committee will be finalised

in the near future and I hope to introduce a Bill later in

this session to provide a basis for the operation of the


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Subject to any direction of the Minister for

Education and Science:

(a) The Committee shall advise on priorities in educational


(b) Within the limit of the funds made available from time

to time by the Commonwealth to this Committee, the

Committee shall examine and make recommendations to the

Minister for the financial support of proposals,

either submitted to it by or on behalf of individuals

or groups, or proposed by it, Such proposals may in-clude educational research projects, the collation and

dissemination of information about completed research

and research in progress, and measures for the training

of research personnel,

(c) The Committee shall advise the Minister on any other

means for the improvement of educational research, its

development and application of results in Australia,

(d) The Committee shall be available for consultation on

educational research and development matters.

(e) The Committee's rules of procedure shall be subject to

the approval of the Minister.

(f) The Committee shall report to the Minister periodically

on the progress of its activities.