Teacher pledge blasted

La­bor’s prom­ises to lift num­bers but LNP crit­i­cal

The Morning Bulletin - - NEWS - GEOFF EGAN GEOFF.EGAN@NEWS.COM.AU

NEW teach­ers would be pri­ori­tised for the schools with the fastest en­rol­ment growth, un­der a new La­bor pol­icy. Pre­mier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk an­nounced yes­ter­day that 3700 more teach­ers would be em­ployed if her gov­ern­ment was re-elected. But the LNP said La­bor had al­ready com­mit­ted to the new teacher, dub­bing it a “des­per­ate” at­tempt to cover years of gov­ern­ment inaction. This pa­per re­vealed, as part of the Fair Go For Our Kids cam­paign, the rate of young peo­ple fin­ish­ing school in re­gional ar­eas was sig­nif­i­cantly be­low the rate in Bris­bane. Ed­u­ca­tion ex­perts said lower Year 12 com­ple­tion rates put re­gional young peo­ple be­hind when adapt­ing to the chang­ing econ­omy. In Cairns, Ms Palaszczuk said the teach­ers would be de­ployed over the next four years on the ba­sis of pop­u­la­tion growth. She promised her gov­ern­ment would “re-en­gage” at-risk youth in schools or al­ter­na­tive ed­u­ca­tion. “We are de­ter­mined to pro­vide Queens­land stu­dents with the skills and knowl­edge they need to meet the chal­lenges of the fu­ture,” she said. “At the heart of our pol­icy is a com­mit­ment to en­sure we em­ploy more teach­ers to meet en­rol­ment growth.” LNP shadow ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter Tracy Davis said the pol­icy was a re­hash of com­mit­ments al­ready an­nounced in the bud­get. “Today we’ve seen An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk make a des­per­ate at­tempt to cover for three years of La­bor inaction that failed to de­liver any­thing for re­gional schools or ed­u­ca­tion,” she said. “An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk has today failed to an­nounce one ad­di­tional teacher, ad­mit­ting she has sim­ply con­firmed what is al­ready in the ex­ist­ing Queens­land bud­get. “Af­ter three years of a donoth­ing La­bor Gov­ern­ment, we have seen NAPLAN re­sults flatlin­ing and last year schools missed 18 of 24 na­tional bench­marks. “While the Pre­mier was in Cairns today an­nounc­ing what is al­ready in the bud­get, lo­cal schools are suf­fer­ing.” The LNP is yet to an­nounce its ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy. Ms Davis said the LNP would rein­tro­duce the Schools Planning Com­mis­sion to en­sure “fu­ture planning de­liv­ers schools and up­grades where they are needed most”. The com­mis­sion was es­tab­lished un­der the pre­vi­ous LNP gov­ern­ment to con­sult with ed­u­ca­tion providers, coun­cils and par­ents re­gard­ing school needs. Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Kate Jones said the La­bor pol­icy would en­cour­age study in STEM – sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and maths. “Strong lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy pro­grams are the build­ing blocks of a strong state ed­u­ca­tion,” she said. “We will also strengthen the fo­cus on ... sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and maths and cod­ing and ro­bot­ics.

PHOTO: DAR­REN ENG­LAND/AAP

BACK TO SCHOOL: Queens­land Pre­mier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk chats with keen stu­dents at Edge Hill State Pri­mary School in Cairns on the cam­paign trail yes­ter­day.

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