Ed­u­ca­tion push ahead of elec­tion

The Australian Education Reporter - - NEWS: WA/SA - EMMA DAVIES

BOTH La­bor and Lib­eral camps are fo­cus­ing on the fu­ture of ed­u­ca­tion in the lead up to the WA State Elec­tion.

Pre­mier Colin Bar­nett said a re-elected Lib­eral Gov­ern­ment will use money from the Next Gen­er­a­tion Fund – funded from the par­tial sale of West­ern Power – to en­sure pub­lic high schools would be brought up to cur­rent stan­dards.

“A vote for the Lib­er­als will re­sult in this work hap­pen­ing. A vote for La­bor will see it de­layed for 20 years or more,” Mr Bar­nett said.

The $1 bil­lion Next Gen­er­a­tion Ed­u­ca­tion Fund will ben­e­fit high schools built be­fore

1985 across the State, with more than $400 mil­lion also ear­marked for pri­mary schools, dis­trict high schools and TAFES.

Un­der a re-elected Lib­eral Gov­ern­ment,

$560 mil­lion will be spent build­ing new fa­cil­i­ties for Science, De­sign and Tech­nol­ogy, Sport, Me­dia, Home Eco­nom­ics, and Per­form­ing and Vis­ual Arts.

Ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter Peter Col­lier said each school on the list would re­ceive new and re­fur­bished fa­cil­i­ties worth be­tween $2 mil­lion and $34 mil­lion.

“We have al­ready in­vested $3.1 bil­lion in cap­i­tal works for schools over the past eight years, build­ing 46 new schools and 15 re­place­ment schools,” said Mr Col­lier.

“We have another $1.3 bil­lion bud­geted to open 18 new schools and com­plete ma­jor up­grades by 2020.”

Dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign, the Lib­er­als have also pledged to re­vamp high schools as part of a wider ex­pan­sion plan to cre­ate 4,200 new per­ma­nent places for Perth stu­dents with the up­grades ex­pected to cre­ate more than 18,000 jobs.

La­bor stated that it plans to sub­stan­tially re­verse the State and Fed­eral Gov­ern­ments cuts to schools and pro­vide stu­dents with more one-on-one at­ten­tion.

As part of La­bor’s class­room pack­age, $121.8 mil­lion will be in­vested along with an ad­di­tional 300 Ed­u­ca­tion As­sis­tants in­tro­duced into schools over three years, 50 Abo­rig­i­nal and Is­lan­der Ed­u­ca­tion Of­fi­cers and an ex­tra 120 teach­ers.

La­bor will also in­vest $2 mil­lion to sup­port the in­te­gra­tion of cod­ing into the school cur­ricu­lum, $17 mil­lion to roll out science pro­grams in 200 pub­lic schools, and two hun­dred $25,000 grants to con­vert ex­ist­ing class­rooms into science lab­o­ra­to­ries.

The $19 mil­lion Science and Cod­ing in School ini­tia­tive will en­sure schools have the re­sources; equip­ment and ex­per­tise to teach stu­dents STEM sub­jects, as well as $2 mil­lion of fund­ing for pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment for teach­ers.

WA La­bor Leader Mark Mcgowan.

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