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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 16 March 2010) . . Page.. 899 ..

This was also a huge step in ending the old public-private divide and giving parents confidence and freedom to choose the school which suits their child best, knowing that there is consistency of curriculum no matter where they choose. Literacy and numeracy are absolutely fundamental in teaching and learning. So my department works closely with the Catholic Education Office in the development of literacy and numeracy programs.

Training of facilitators in the first steps and the count me in too endorsed programs is a joint project that has led to increased efficiency, the development of networks and has reduced costs for both sectors. Literacy and Numeracy Week is another example of our close cooperation to provide professional activities to build teacher capacity and to showcase the work done in our schools. The u-can read program at the University of Canberra provides strategies for parents to assist their children in literacy. Catholic Education Office schools are able and willingly to access this program.

ACT Catholic schools have also been involved in another significant education project that has benefited many students in Canberra. I speak of the ANU secondary college. The program allows students in college to gain university credit by attending the ANU in these years. Catholic school students attend the college and are taught by some of our outstanding college teachers.

The Department of Education and Training is also currently working with the Catholic Education Office in the development of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identification framework to assist in identifying students who might succeed in the ANU secondary college environment.

In Kevin Rudd’s words, information and communications technology in schools are “the tool boxes of the 21st century”. This is the future of teaching and learning in schools. The ACT Labor government is committed to ensuring all Canberra students are well equipped for life in the 21st century. Our record investment in ICT since being elected has placed the ACT as the national leader in this field. The broadband provisions, smart boards, laptop computers and wireless networks we have funded have significantly altered the way students learn and teachers teach. They have given parents new ways to be involved in their child’s education.

But we know that in a rapidly changing world we need to continue to invest in new technology to ensure that every student has access to the best. That is why we have invested an extra $1.9 million in ICT grants to our Catholic schools to ensure that they, too, have access to state-of-the-art equipment such as whiteboards and new computers. I am determined to ensure that all ACT students, wherever they go to school, will have access to the best of new technology for teaching and learning.

Our work at the territory level is supported by the progressive national education agenda that we are currently seeing being implemented through commonwealth, state and territory governments. The COAG agenda for education is large and it is significant. It has the ability to change education forever for all students across the country. That is why the ACT government, through the Department of Education and Training, has formed a joint cross-sectoral group to act as an authoritative forum for cooperative and collaborative advice.

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