Australia’s schools are set to receive a $1.2 billion boost in Tuesday’s budget, the federal government has announced.
The pledge to public and private schools will take place between 2018-2020 with spending on education to increase from 2.5 to 3.56% a year.
“We are paying for this increased expenditure on schools by reducing expenditure in other parts of the budget instead of doing it as Labor is proposing to do, paying for it with increased taxes that will hurt economic growth,” minister for finance Mathias Cormann told Sky News on Sunday.
The boost in funding hopes to improve students’ results through standardised assessment of reading and numeracy skills as well as annual progress reports for parents.
“It is completely unacceptable that the performance of our students in fundamental skills like literacy and numeracy continues to slip even while our funding continues to significantly increase,” federal education minister Simon Birmingham said.
Other conditions in the federal government’s education plan includes minimum standards for Year 12 students, additional subject requirements for those seeking an ATAR as well as teachers’ salaries being linked to competency.
The pledge will be $3 billion less than the $4.5 billion in extra funding Labor has promised for Gonski school reforms if it wins the election.
Responding to claims that the funding was simply “Gonski chopped back”, treasurer Scott Morrison said it was a “significant increase in investment in education” on the Today Show.
“Labor is promising high taxes. That’s what they’re promising. And what they’re promising is an unfunded plan over the longer period of time. What I’m saying is: we will spend that is affordable, we’ll spend it in a way which is disciplined and we’ll spend it in a way which gets outcome.”
The funding is understood to be part of a broader $73.6 billion “student achievement plan” to be announced on May 3.
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