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Education in Commonwealth Territories



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FOR

EDUCAT#ON AND SGIENG

ar en F o se C crr , A.CT 26Q0

60/70

Embargoed 11.00 a.m. Friday9/10/70

EDUCATION IN COMMONWEALTH TERRITORIES

The Minister for Education and Science, Mr Nigel Bowen, announced today two Government decisions relating to education in Commonwealth Territories.

The first was a decision to establish a Commonwealth Teaching Service. This Service would be established by legislation and would be outside the Public Service Act. It would provide security and mobility for teachers in Commonwealth operated school systems and its establishment under its own Act, rather than under the Public Service Act would allow the flexibility needed for the best provision of education services. Members of the Teaching Service would be eligible to join the Commonwealth Superannuation Fund, under provisions similar to those applicable to members of the Commonwealth Public Sorvice.

The Minister said that the decision to create a Commonwealth Teaching Service arose from the recent South Australian decision to withdraw its teachers, over a period of five years, from community schools in the Northern Territory. The Commonwealth Government would begin recruitment of teachers and trainees within the next

few weeks so that the first Commonwealth employed teachers could take up positions in the Territory community schools at the beginning of 1971. Pending the passing of the legislation to establish the Teaching Service these teachers would be employed under the Public Service Act.

It was clear, the Minister said, that the community school system in the Northern Territory, and any other single Commonwealth operated school system, would, on its own, be too small during the foreseeable future to offer an attractive career structure. The Teaching Service would enable teachers to move easily from one Commonwealth operated school system to another. The Minister emphasised that the establishment of the Teaching Service would not affect the existing resronsibilities of Commonwealth Departments in education. Those Departments running school systems would continue to do so and to be responsible for the conduct and educational policy

of their schools.

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The Minister said that details of the organisation and method of operation of the Commonwealth Teaching Service were being worked out and that the views of interested organisations, including the teachers' unions, would be sought and taken into account.

Mr Bowen announced also a Government decision on education in the Australian Capital Territory. For some time the A.C.T. Council of Parents and Citizens' Associations and certain other people interested in education had been advocating a change in the present arrangement by which A.C.T. Schools are built, equipped and maintained by the Commonwealth and staffed by New South Wales. It had been suggested that as an immediate step the Commonwealth Government should set up an enquiry into education in the A.C.T.

The Minister said that the Government had carefully considered the case put forward but had decided against holding such an enquiry for the present.