Sunday, February 18, 2007

Monday Politics: The Education Revolution

Just had a quick read of the Labor 'Education Revolution' statement, and whilst I whole heartedly agree with the sentiments contained in the document, it fails to provide the pathway for how Australia can increase its investment in human capital.

What would the real education revolution look like?

I think a good place to start is article 13 of the International Covenant on Social...

Article 13 General comment on its implementation
1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to education. They agree that education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity, and shall strengthen the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. They further agree that education shall enable all persons to participate effectively in a free society, promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations and all racial, ethnic or religious groups, and further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
2. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize that, with a view to achieving the full realization of this right:
(a) Primary education shall be compulsory and available free to all;
(b) Secondary education in its different forms, including technical and vocational secondary education, shall be made generally available and accessible to all by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education;
(c) Higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education;
(d) Fundamental education shall be encouraged or intensified as far as possible for those persons who have not received or completed the whole period of their primary education;
(e) The development of a system of schools at all levels shall be actively pursued, an adequate fellowship system shall be established, and the material conditions of teaching staff shall be continuously improved. 3. The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to choose for their children schools, other than those established by the public authorities, which conform to such minimum educational standards as may be laid down or approved by the State and to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.
4. No part of this article shall be construed so as to interfere with the liberty of individuals and bodies to establish and direct educational institutions, subject always to the observance of the principles set forth in paragraph I of this article and to the requirement that the education given in such institutions shall conform to such minimum standards as may be laid down by the State.

The revolution should start with universal free education for all. This would cement education at the heart of society, and prevent the underprivileged from being unable to access education. And it is also about values. That is people feeling connected to the one community rich and poor, black and white, Christian and muslim etc. It will build a sense of mutual respect and shared responsibility.

Labor's education revolution should be establishing the Medicare equivalent for education.


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