The Department of Education and Futures Enablement moved a step closer to the closing of all traditional schools last night when its Decentralised Schooling Bill was approved by the Upper House. Grand Minister O’Shea was positive about this development, stating, “It is time that the ‘one size fits all’ approach to education be torn up, in favour of a more nurturing and responsive ideology.”
Central to the premise of this Bill is the shifting of the responsibility for the education of this nation’s youth to those who know them best – their parents, carers and families. Families will be issued vouchers to use as they see fit.
Some families will elect to educate their children at home, others will pool their resources and establish small, multi-family pods and others will opt to access privately run establishments. But this move has not been without controversy. It is still unclear what will happen for the children who are in the care of the State.
However, the issue of students with specialised learning needs has become clearer, with ongoing support that can be accessed by families, or the opening of centres to assist these children. A surprising development has been the response of businesses and institutions, with schools of excellence in intellectual pursuits, sports and specific careers all offering options for tuition. This will mean the closing of all school sites and the termination of the employment of all staff.