Page 3377 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 20 September 2005

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By finding better ways to teach literacy, numeracy and engender a love of learning, we can open doors for children for the rest of their lives.

This feeling has been emulated in many places where we have seen a volte-face in educational theory. The new minister for schools in the Blair government, Andrew (Lord) Adonis, is undertaking a complete review of the modernising revolution that began in the 1960s because, he claims, comprehensive schools have largely replaced selection viability with selection by class and house price.

In France, the more radical firebrands of 1968 are starting to reconsider their views. One of those, Marc Le Bris, in his book And your children will not be able to read or count said:

Modern pedagogy’s only use is to justify the abandonment of the ambitions which we once had for our children. We are facing a true cultural catastrophe.

In Australia, we had the same bankruptcy until recently. But there have been changes, with the new Queensland minister for education throwing out the English critical literacy syllabus and taking a new constructive path to English learning, while the Western Australian Gallop government has just abandoned outcomes-based learning after years of pressure from teachers and parents and has reinstated traditional syllabus.

It is only in the ACT that things are going backward. In doing so, we are employing a choice of rhetoric and opportunity which will restrict the life chances of those who rely upon public education. The affluent will always buy their children a proper education; the poor do not have that opportunity.

MADAM TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mrs Burke): The member’s time has expired.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs, and Acting Minister for Education and Training) (4.02): I thank the opposition for providing me with the opportunity to provide details to the Assembly and the community of the excellent state of education in the ACT. My government is strongly committed to education. It has delivered for education through strong investment, investment in our schools, investment in ICT and investment in our teachers, and students have produced continued success in national and international events.

No other government has spent more on education in the territory. The proposed $43 million school at west Belconnen represents the largest single investment ever in education in the ACT. We believe that an investment in education will enhance the quality of life of all members of the ACT community. It is fundamental to the social and economic development of the territory.

In the 2002-03 budget, by way of example, my government invested in the reduction of year 3 class sizes, high school development, the enhanced computers for teachers program and a schools IT capacity upgrade. In the 2003-04 budget, by way of example, the investment in education continued through the curriculum renewal project, support

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