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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 3 April 2008) . . Page.. 1021 ..

Education—universities admissions index
(Question No 1843)

Dr Foskey asked the Minister for Education and Training, upon notice, on 13 February 2008:

(1) In relation to the ACT senior secondary school system’s UAI achievement rate, is the Minister aware that 30% of ACT residents aged 15 and over held a Bachelor degree or higher qualification according to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2006 Census results, compared to 16% for NSW and 16% for Australia as a whole;

(2) Is the Minister aware that the median family income for the ACT was $1 773 according to ABS 2006 Census results, compared to $1 181 for NSW and $1 171 for Australia as a whole;

(3) Is the Minister aware that the ACT’s socio-economic status is by far the highest of Australia’s eight states and territories;

(4) Is it acceptable that the ACT’s UAI achievement rate is significantly below that of NSW;

(5) Can the Minister explain why the ACT system’s UAI achievement rate has been significantly below that of the NSW system in recent years;

(6) What UAI achievement rate percentage is an appropriate objective for the ACT senior secondary system to aim for;

(7) What plans does the Minister have to increase the ACT’s UAI achievement rate.

Mr Barr: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) No. However, I am aware of figures similar to those quoted in the question.

(2) Yes.

(3) Yes.

(4) &(5) The purpose of a UAI is to gain entry into university. In the ACT, there are multiple pathways available to students consistent with their interests, abilities and goals. Preparation for university study is just one of those options. Other options include vocational education and training courses and Australian School-Based Apprenticeships (ASBAs). The breadth of curriculum options allows ACT students to be selective in their study choices.

Although the percentage of NSW students gaining a UAI is higher than in the ACT, the result does not necessarily lead to a greater proportion of students going to university. Students with UAIs of 60 or higher have a good chance of receiving a university offer. The likelihood of going to university is significantly lower for students gaining a UAI less than 60. In 2006, 86% of ACT UAI cohort students received a UAI of 60 or above, while only 60% of the NSW UAI cohort received a UAI of 60 or above.

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