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Tuesday, 22 August 1972
Page: 472

Mr BROWN (DIAMOND VALLEY, VICTORIA) - My question is directed to the Minister for Education and Science. Is he aware of the visit to Canberra today of a comparatively large number of parents and citizens from Victoria to express their interest in and concern about the standard and quality of education in Victorian government schools in particular? Also, has the Minister received a deputation from amongst those parents and citizens? If so, during the course of his meeting with this deputation was he able to throw any light on what the Commonwealth in fact has achieved and has been doing in the field of education? In particular, in view of the fact that such citizens look primarily to the Commonwealth Government to remedy some of the defects in education, was the Minister able to hold out any hope of further Commonwealth assistance in this field?

Mr Malcolm Fraser (WANNON, VICTORIA) - I did meet a deputation of parents and citizens from Victoria, which also included some teachers. I was glad to do so. The numbers who have come to Canberra, I think, evidence the very real concern that a great number of parents and citizens groups have about the quality of education in government schools. They put their point of view to me. I tried to indicate that the new policies the Commonwealth has announced over the last 10 or 12 months - in particular concerning capital funds for school construction and the teacher training policy which I announced on behalf of the Government last Thursday and which includes policies for the training of pre-school teachers - would do much to improve the quality of education in all schools, but especially in government schools, because the 2 areas of concern are the adequacy of the number of teachers and greater equality in capital facilities. I think I mentioned this morning also - if I did not, it remains a fact - that the revised programme of assistance for scholarships will do a very great deal to help an additional number of families to have their children pursue their education further. I hope that as these policies come to bite and have an impact their worth for Australian education in government schools will be felt.

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