Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - EDUCATION -

LO­CAL: Swan is home to Curtin Uni­ver­sity. How will the Fed­eral Govern­ment work to keep tu­ition fees as af­ford­able as pos­si­ble for stu­dents?

La­bor has al­ways been the party to stand up for qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion and ex­pand peo­ple's op­por­tu­ni­ties for higher ed­u­ca­tion. Be­cause of our past re­forms an ad­di­tional 190,000 stu­dents are en­rolled at uni­ver­sity to­day. La­bor will con­tinue the de­mand-driven sys­tem and en­sure that ac­cess to uni­ver­sity re­mains a mat­ter of hard work and good marks, not your bank bal­ance. We will in­tro­duce a new Stu­dent Fund­ing Guar­an­tee to pro­vide cer­tainty to uni­ver­si­ties and re­move the need for higher fees. Un­der a Shorten La­bor Govern­ment, av­er­age fund­ing per un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dent in 2018 will be more than $11,800. This ad­di­tional in­vest­ment will en­sure that stu­dents are en­cour­aged rather than de­terred from study­ing at uni­ver­sity, im­prov­ing the pro­duc­tive ca­pac­ity of our econ­omy.

GEN­ERAL: What can be done to ad­dress Aus­tralian stu­dents underperforming in STEM sub­jects?

Part of the is­sue is that kids aren't kept in­ter­ested or en­gaged in STEM sub­jects. Na­tion­ally, around 60 per cent of IT teach­ers and 40 per cent of Gen­eral Science and maths teach­ers teach­ing Years 7-10 classes do not have a ter­tiary qual­i­fi­ca­tion in those ar­eas. We need to do more to sup­port Aus­tralia's great teach­ers so that they can de­liver STEM cour­ses in a way that will in­spire and en­gage our school chil­dren. La­bor's plan is to in­tro­duce a five year STEM teacher train­ing fund that will sup­port 5,000 pri­mary and sec­ondary teach­ers a year to un­der­take pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment in STEM dis­ci­plines.

GEN­ERAL: Should Fed­eral Govern­ment fund­ing per stu­dent be more eq­ui­tably split be­tween pri­vate and pub­lic schools?

In­creas­ing ed­u­ca­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties is the key to in­no­va­tion and fu­ture eco­nomic pros­per­ity. No mat­ter what a per­son’s back­ground is, no mat­ter where they live, no mat­ter what type of school they go to, La­bor wants ev­ery child to have the same chance of suc­ceed­ing at school, and in life, as any other child in the coun­try.

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