Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

No need to reject competition as a driving force in schooling outcomes

By David Robertson - posted Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The view of respected education commentator Dean Ashenden to outright reject the Harper review of competition as it might apply to schools (Australian schools: the view from Mars) is premature but not surprising given the belief that "the choice and diversity policies initiated in Australia in the 1970s have moved us steadily toward a school system with gated communities at one end of a spectrum and education ghettos at the other".

Australia does not have a school system of gated communities and education ghettos, nor is there any evidence that we are moving towards such a system.

Ignored is the fact that political support for choice in schooling over the past thirty years has opened up diverse schooling opportunities for hundreds of thousands of students and parents, particularly from lower socio-economic areas. Choice and diversity is alive and well in our schooling system and lays the foundations for a vibrant, innovative and "consumer-driven" schooling sector.


Applying some competitive forces to schooling surely cannot be such a bad thing and the need to address the conflicts inherent in Government's role as regulator, funder and the main provider of schooling certainly resonates with the non-government sectors which are subject to increasing Government intervention.

Ashenden correctly asserts that "economics has much more to offer than the schooling industry is generally willing to acknowledge". In this context, the presentation by the Queensland Director General of Education, Dr Jim Watterston, to the recent (September 25 2014) Queensland Education Accord Summit held in Brisbane was telling. Dr Watterson's first slide titled "Return on Investment" starkly outlined the fact that the dollar investment in schools has doubled in the past decade, yet our educational outcomes (measured by for example by PISA and NAPLAN results) have flatlined.

The challenge is how to improve Australian educational outcomes.

The Queensland Education Accord is a unique opportunity to do just that as it will map a 30-year vision for school education, building on the Government's Queensland Plan which sets the high level direction for the future. Given that education is one of the key foundations for the Queensland Plan, it is timely that consideration is given to what our schools might look like into the future and how improvements can be achieved for students.

The underlying principles to drive a vision for Queensland schooling into the future should include the:

· Need to build on school education performance;


· Desirability of increased choice to enhance competition, promote innovation, increase equity and importantly, to improve education quality;

· Need for a more deregulated, less centrally controlled education system;

· Importance of increasing community participation and ownership in the provision of education services; and

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

7 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

David Robertson is Executive Director of Independent Schools Queensland.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by David Robertson

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of David Robertson
Article Tools
Comment 7 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy