Page 4838 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 11 November 2009

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That is why I recently announced that the University of Canberra will form an education partnership with Kaleen high school and Lake Ginninderra college—three education institutions in Ms Porter’s electorate. The partnership is a first for the ACT and will see the schools work more closely with the university to improve overall teaching and learning.

The main goal of this partnership is to improve the pathway for students from junior high school through college and on to tertiary education. The partnership will also further improve teacher quality, with school staff and UC teacher education staff sharing their expertise and experience. It is going to provide unique opportunities for the University of Canberra, the schools and the Department of Education and Training to conduct research. The partnership will also provide UC teacher trainees and teachers with the opportunity to upgrade their skills through the University of Canberra and the chance to work at Kaleen high school and Lake Ginninderra college under supervision.

There is no doubt that this is an exciting opportunity. We want to further develop the partnership opportunities with the school communities and the university over the course of the next few years. There will be a number of opportunities for those school communities to be involved in these partnership discussions. We are certainly urging education stakeholders, parents, carers and staff to be involved.

The partnership is an opportunity to ensure that the needs of students are better met under the learn or earn policy that was passed by this place yesterday. The plan will see students required to be at school or in training or work until the age of 17. This represents a fundamental change in our education system. It means that we must develop new education settings and methods to ensure that every ACT student finds their passion in education and training and finds an education system that can respond to their needs. The UC-Lake Ginninderra college-Kaleen high school partnership is part of this solution.

We are also investigating improvements to vocational education and training in our high schools and colleges, particularly looking at polytechnic models for linking training and education. As I have said before, we have taken a keen interest in reform experiences elsewhere in this country as well as around the world, looking at some international models for dual secular institutions. This is an area where the territory will work closely with the commonwealth and with local institutions, which of course have a degree of autonomy.

There is much to do here. There is much at stake. We are going to take our time to get things right. But I am looking forward to 2010 as a year when the Canberra community is engaged in a rich and rewarding discussion about future possibilities in education and training. We set very high standards in the ACT. Labor remains the party of excellence in education. This means reform and it means change.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Porter, a supplementary question?

MS PORTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Is the minister aware of community views on the ACT government’s plans?

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