Victoria’s government schools are as diverse as the communities they serve. So too are the range of success stories, aspirations and needs of its half a million plus students.
Information collected as part of the On Track survey and published in Melbourne newspapers highlights that diversity.
The Victorian school system should and does mean different things for different students, and government schools must cater to that. Gaining an apprenticeship is as equally worthwhile as winning university entrance. Finding a job is the ideal outcome for some students, while for others it is further study at TAFE.
University is the right destination for many students and certainly is something to strive for but it is equally true to say it is not the only aspiration held by many of our young people.
Let’s not pretend that university is the only possible - or preferable - ambition for all of our next generation. No number of highly trained medicos, scientists or engineers are able to build the houses we need, to fix our wiring, build our roads, distribute our goods or staff our businesses.
It would be ridiculous to suggest university entrance should be the only pathway that schools should prepare our students for and the only indicator they should be measured by.
Some schools aggressively market themselves on their ability to prepare students for university.
But when assessing a school's capacity, it is too simplistic and quite misleading to adopt only that single narrow measure of university entrance. School success in providing for a variety of outcomes should provide comfort to parents that no matter what their child’s interests they will be appropriately and expertly catered for and not abandoned if they do not fit the university mould.
That’s why the Bracks government introduced the On Track survey.
The new data gives additional information to students and parents and broadens the definitions of the success of our schools.
The information collected shows that the education system is generally preparing students very well for life after they leave school.
The results show that almost three in every four surveyed school students are continuing their education, in training or an apprenticeship after Year 12. That is a fantastic result.
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