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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4639

Mr Kennedy asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:

(1)   Was it claimed at the time of introduction of 'the Commonwealth Secondary Scholarship Scheme that its purpose was the advancement of students of ability who might have been prevented on financial grounds from going further in their education' if they did not receive a Commonwealth scholarship.

(2)   If so, (a) is this objective claimed for the scheme today and (b) what research has been undertaken by (i) his Department or (ii) 'any State Government Department of Education on the effectiveness of the scheme.

(3)   What sum has been expended on the scheme to 30 th June 1971.

Mr Malcolm Fraser (WANNON, VICTORIA) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   At the time the Commonwealth Secondary Scholarship Scheme was established, the stated criterion was that the scholarships would be awarded on merit, lt was also the intention that the scheme might help students who could otherwise miss the final two years of secondary schooling through family circumstances.

(2)   (a) In accordance with the criterion of merit, scholarships have been awarded on the basis of individual merit as measured by the results obtained in the Commonwealth Secondary Scholarship Examination- and in more recent years weight has also been given to school assessments., lt is considered that the scheme has been a factor in assisting a number of students to remain at school for the final two years of secondary education who might otherwise not have continued.

(b)   (i) Research has been undertaken into the scheme by the Austraiian Council for Educational Research which also prepares the examination used as part of the selection process for Secondary scholarship winners. This research was supported by Commonwealth funds. The Council has published a Report on the effect which winning a scholarship had on the subsequent education and occupational plans of a selected sample of successful applicants. The Council is conducting fur her research into this subject and into , . the distribution of awards and the subsequent academic success of scholarship winners. My Detriment has also been investigating the relationship between results in the Commonwealth Secondary Scholarship Examination and subsequent academic performance of some groups of students.

(ii)   The Queensland Department . of Education has published the findings of studies it has made into:

1.   the distribution of awards in that State,

2.   the subsequent academic performance of scholarship winners in Queensland,

3.   the effect of varying the method of selection on the distribution of awards and the subsequent performance of scholarship winners.

(3)   Expenditure on the scheme to 30th June 1971 was $41. 4m.

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