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Keating's Fraudulent History: Educational Participation



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FE D E R A L M E M B E R F O R G O L D S T E IN S H A D O W M IN IS T E R F O R E D U C A T IO N

31 May 1992

MEDIA RELEASE

KEATING'S FRAUDULENT HISTORY: EDUCATIONAL PARTICIPATION

In Question Time last week the Prime Minister claimed that former Coalition governments had had no interest in lifting educational levels or skills, and that recognition of this need had been an achievement of the Labor government since

On the "Sunday" program today, Paul Keating again distorted Australian history to suit his own purposes.

School retention rates have been rising for decades.

• In 1967 22.7 per cent of students went through to Year 12. By 1983, the figure was 40.6 per cent, up from 34.9 per cent in 1976.

School retention rates have continued to rise. By 1986 the apparent retention rate had reached 48.7 per cent, and by 1990 it was 64 per cent.

Rising participation has resulted from changing attitudes amongst women and girls about their life paths, the comparative decline in apprenticeship as a labour market entrance mechanism, the lag effect of high youth unemployment from the mid- 1970s on, and the growing recognition in the community that jobs of the future will require higher education levels.

The Chapman Report on AUSTUDY released this month also notes that:

"the major factors influencing most young people's educational decisions are not the provision of government grants to overcome financial

difficulties...What does seem to be extremely important is the propensity of parents to encourage participation ...".

The Keating contribution to lifting retention rates comes principally from the role of government policy in maintaining unacceptably high levels of youth unemployment.

1983.

COMMONWEALTH

PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

Mr. Keating's history is also poor in another respect. It was the Coalition under Sir Robert Menzies which began the great expansion in the university sector, and it was the Coalition which initiated the policy which led to the establishment of the Colleges of Advanced Education.

• In 1960 there were 53,391 higher education students in Australia. By 1983 this number had increased to 348,577, and by 1990 to 485,075.

It is time Paul Keating realised history began long before he came to office. The most striking feature of Labor's record is that no government before this one has failed so spectactularly to keep up with the rising demand for education and training opportunities.

Information: Norman Abjorensen (06) 286 4492