Page 2817 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 16 August 2017

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will be employed in may not even have been imagined today. As we continue to realise the seemingly infinite possibilities created by human innovation, ever-growing data capacity and high speed internet, our existing societal and economic constructs face even more and greater challenges. Robotics, algorithms and apps have already replaced a number of jobs our parents and grandparents once held. This trend will only continue, presenting a growing challenge for our policymakers, workers and investors in responding to the unknown. The decisions we make today in this chamber will have an ongoing consequence for whether our children can adapt to our constantly changing technologies and can access well-paid, secure work.

In meeting these needs the best tool we can provide our future workers with is the capacity to undertake lifelong learning. This means a commitment to education that spans from the early learning years right through to access to quality reskilling education and training later in life. The ACT government will continue to work on achieving the best outcomes for students of all ages regardless of their background or circumstance. This budget delivers on that commitment, offering $3.5 million in the pursuit of continued high quality education for all students. Part of this funding will support the ACT government’s future of education process. Never complacent, the ACT government has committed to look at ways that we can further improve our school and early learning education experiences. This budget delivers $500,000 to support the important engagement with the ACT community in how we can progress education attainment.

Our teachers are our most important resource in equipping our children for the future. This government recognises this better than most. That is why the ACT budget provides funding for 3,649 teachers to educate our 46,557 students. This means there will be one teacher for every 12.7 students in the ACT, one of the lowest teacher-to-student ratios in the country. This ratio is crucial. In a recent program for international student assessment results, Estonia, a country whose GDP per capita ranks 29th of 34 OECD countries, topped Europe, coming in fifth internationally. It has been noted this improvement is partly due to the ratio of students to teachers in Estonian schools falling from 20 students per teacher to 12 over the past two decades. The significance of this should not be lost, as it clearly illustrates the need for the ACT to continue to invest in our teachers to ensure that we continue to enable our students to reach their potential.

As well as needing to teach students the skills they will need in the job market, it cannot be forgotten that our schools play a vital role in teaching life skills. It is in the classroom and playground where we learn to interact with one another, use our inside voice and respect one another for who we are. Growing up alongside others culturally diverse from us offers greater understanding and acceptance of our differences. This lesson on social diversity is one of the greatest virtues of a public school education. Across Canberra we see students from a wide array of backgrounds learn side by side in our public schools. This is no more so than in my electorate of Yerrabi, which is the most culturally diverse in the ACT. With families from more than 40 different cultures, including China, the Philippines, India, Korea, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, to name a few, the electorate is a rich tapestry of multiculturalism. Diversity in schools

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