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$25-40 million yearly for education "transition" program



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22 Novemoer ij79

Ministerial $25-40 MILLION YEARLY FOR EDUCATION "TRANSITION"

79/22 _____________________PROGRAM________

A special youth 1 transition1 program, with Commonwealth

funds rising from $25 million to $40 million a year, was

announced in Federal Parliament today by the Minister for

Education, Senator Garrick.

Senator Garrick said that the Commonwealth Government

was concerned about the problems of young people in making the

transition from school to work or further education.

It was ready to join with the States and the Northern

Territory in a comprehensive aid policy to be followed through

in a five-year program from the coming New Year.

He said that the Commonwealth would also pay half the

cost of operating a national research and development centre

for Technical and Further Education (TAFE).

The centre would analyse the skills required for various

occupations, and would plan and develop the teaching materials

necessary for the courses involved. . .

The Government considered that there was a 'need for sub­

stantial changes and development in education, training and

preparation for initial employment for a significant minority of

young people who have unsatisfactory experiences at this

important and formative stage of their lives'.

Senator Garrick made two statements in the Senate in

announcing the new program today:

. The Government's response to the report of the Committee

of Inquiry into Education and Training, whose chairman was

Professor Bruce Williams, Vice-Chancellor of Sydney University.

. The new comprehensive youth policy aim under which

'ultimately all young people in the 15-19 age group would be

provided with options in education, training and employmnent

or any combination of these, either part-time or full-time,

so that unemployment becomes the least acceptable alternative'.

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He said that these developments were 'a natural

consequence1 of the findings made by the Williams .Committee,

whose report was tabled in Parliament last March after its

appointment in September 1976 to study 'possible developments

up to the year 2000'.

The Government regards the Williams Report recommendations on schooling, tertiary study, and vocational training as a significant crystallisation of ideas and actions developed in

these areas in recent years.

It is especially keen to meet community anxieties over

what are thought to be weaknesses in teaching basic skills in

schools now, and over the difficulties which this causes for

young people seeking jobs.

It is co-operating with the States in developing

testing measures to help classroom teachers and systems to

identify deficiencies in literacy and numeracy.

The Williams Report quoted an Australian survey

which found that only 50 per cent of 14-year-olds could

write a satisfactory application letter for work.

Senator Garrick also pointed out today that the

report contained proposals about the situation for girls and

women in gaining access to all sectors and fields of education,

and access to work opportunities.

He said that the Government attached 'considerable

importance' to these recommendations, and would consider

carefully ways in which the Commonwealth Could help to

implement them.

The ways in which the Commonwealth grants for the

transition program would be spent would be worked out in talks

with State,territorial, and non-government education authorities

to start 'immediately the States and the Northern Territory

have accepted the Commonwealth's offer'.

The Commonwealth's contributions were being offered

on the understanding that in 1981 the States and the Northern

Territory would contribute a total of $9 million for the

program agreed upon and that they would match the Commonwealth

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, ν, grant to their government systems, dollar for dollar, in

later years.

The funds would be available from the beginning

of 1980 for courses in government schools and Technical

and Further Education (TAPE) systems, and in non-government

school systems.

They would be special grants for the five years of the

transition program, in addition to what was provided through

the Commonwealth's Tertiary Education Commission and Schools

Commission.

The amounts to be granted after 1980 would be adjusted

to allow for inflation.

For the first three years, $25 million would be granted

each year, split as $23 million for government systems, and

$2 million for non-government systems.

In the fourth year, 1983, the Commonwealth would grant

$35 million ($32 million for government systems, and $3

million for non-government).

The Commonwealth distribution in the fifth year, 1984,

would total $40 million ($36 million and $4 million).

Senator Garrick said that 'over a period, the

Commonwealth wishes to see the pattern of allowances and

benefits for young people, and of related assistance, to industry,

reorganised to ensure that these separate measures provide the

appropriate incentives to participation in education and

training.

'This important aspect of a comprehensive policy is

being examined carefully within the Commonwealth administration,*

The developments which the Commonwealth proposed were

consistent with what had been worked out at the meeting of the

Australian Education Council in Perth last month.

The State, Northern Territory, and Commonwealth

Education Ministers who constituted the Council had endorsed

'the need for a comprehensive policy on transition from school

to work'.

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Senator Garrick surveyed*developments likely to

occur in 1980* with the Commonwealth's additional $25 million

grant. These included:

. Expansion and development of transition courses in

TAFE institutions, including pre-apprenticeship,

pre-vocational, and pre-employment courses

. Expansion of the number of places available in the

Education Program for Unemployed Youth (EPUY),

expectably an additional 7,000 places in 1980

'with substantial further increases in later years'

. Expansion of school counsellor, vocational education

and guidance services for 'students at risk*

. Development of alternative school courses for potential

early-leavers.

Senator Garrick said that 'teachers have an obvious and

crucial part to play'.

He said that the new Commonwealth Government priorities

linking education, training and employment flowed from the

recommendations of the Williams Committee and from the

Government's concern to improve the quality of education.

The Government's response to the Williams Report would

emphasise seven policy areas.

These were:

. Improvement in the quality of Technical and Further

Education (TAFE)

. Strengthening the teaching of basic skills (literacy

and numeracy) in schools

. 'Facilitating the transition* of young people from

school to work, and developing the youth transition

policy to aid this .

. Improving the quality and availability of labour market

information

. Improving arrangements for training people in skills

. Strengthening and concentrating research in Universities

. Continuing monitoring and adjustments of the Australian

education system.

5.

Senator Garrick said that he had no doubt that

the Williams Report had 'found a sympathetic response from

many people in the community who had questioned the

relevance and quality of education, particularly with

regard to basic skills and preparation for vocations'.

'The quantity of education has increased enormouslyt

in the post-war years, and particularly in the past decade,'

he added.

'Many people have questioned whether there has been

a parallel and comparable increase in quality.'

Inquiries: John Hoffman 89 7309 (w)

81 1949 (h)