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Wednesday, 23 April 1980
Page: 1699

Senator TEAGUE (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Education. Like Senator Davidson's question today, my question refers to the effects of television on children's capacity to learn and their attitude to learning. I note the statement yesterday by the Minister for Post and Telecommunications that the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal is preparing a study on this matter. Is it true that television is used increasingly in Australian schools as a supposed education aid? Is it also true that, whilst some television programs are effective, the majority have come to be regarded as entertainment by children and teachers alike? Is there a serious lack of classroom introduction and follow-up to televised material? Will the Australian Government, through the Schools Commission or otherwise, conduct a parallel study on the educational effectiveness of the use of television in schools, that is, parallel to the ABT study and to the inquiry into this matter from the broadcasting point of view by the Australian Broadcasting Commission Committee of Review?

Senator CARRICK -In responding to Senator Teague, I first of all draw his attention to the excellent Senate committee report on the effect of television on children. In my former capacity, as Minister for Education, this was an issue which weighed heavily upon me. Of course, there was increasing pressure in education establishments for audio-visual aids, and there is great controversy throughout the world as to their true value, whether as a supplement or as direct teaching aids. I think there is a general understanding throughout the world that people watching television see much more than they hear, and that the visual is so much stronger than the auditory that there is a delimitation of its educational value and therefore one can get an imbalance of message.

Senator Button - This is a lot of waffle.

Senator CARRICK - The matters I am stating, which Senator Button says are a lot of twaddle, are based upon expert findings. As usual, Senator Button finds himself the only person in step in the regiment. Senator Teague also asked that the Schools Commission be requested to conduct an inquiry. I will direct that portion of his question to the Schools Commission and seek its study of it.

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