31. ON EDUCATION IN AUSTRALIA

Education  is where most of the ability of the modern workforce originates.  Without education there is little chance of an individual’s gaining employment.

With Covid 19, some parents have had the experience of home schooling.  Many more have come to appreciate fully the value of professional teachers.  It may cause more parents to reflect on the choice of subjects our children are taught by the State.

It is ridiculous that from state to state the primary syllabus differs in this industrially homogenous nation.  Universities are run by dons in their ivory towers.  Education is vital to the future of the nation and should be under the charge of a Federal Government which gets its education policies from the commonsense of the people.

All our children should be grounded in the same basic knowledge of reading, writing, mathematics and science.   Science should be taught impartially.  The facts of climate change, for instance, should be taught without hyperbole, catastrophising, or imposing of a teacher’s own views.  Climate change is a problem that level practical heads can solve, and we need to train our future scientists to be level-headed and practical.

As for education in general the primary focus should be on learning to read, and then write.  Being read to in one’s early years is the primary motivation for mastering the art of reading.  If parents are too tired after a day’s work to read to their child(ren) their child(ren)’s  later success in life will be limited, and the economy itself will suffer.  That is a compelling reason we need a 30 hour working week.  We need it so we can nurture future generations.

There are children who have disabilities which impede their ability to learn to read.  Such children need extra support.  Government should provide it by way of instructing parents in order to empower  them to help their child(ren), and in giving added assistance by way of special teachers and aids.  It should be an infinitesimal few who leave primary school still unable to read.  Even those few should be able to master basic things like instructions for a recipe, the headlines of a newspaper, or a safety sign.

Secondary education is a misnomer.  It is really primary education for more mature students.  Secondary, or high school, is where the State presently introduces  “values”.  I believe the teaching of values should largely be the prerogative of parents.

It is during secondary education that we delve in depth into civics and history.  We should teach history as we know it, and allow children to draw their own conclusions.  Civics should be taught as the basis of how to wisely exercise one’s franchise, a right that comes with democracy.  Children should be instructed in various forms of government such as dictatorship and communism so that they can compare them with democracy and draw their own conclusions.  Basic logic should be taught in high school as well, so that students are equipped to think rationally about issues like civics and history.

Because there is a myriad of religions in Australia, and as the curriculum cannot include them all, State education should be completely secular.  Religious instruction should be the province of parents and any private school they choose for religious tuition.

In social relationships children should be free to learn themselves from their parents, extended families, and the general environment.   Even if a child lives in a sheltered environment at home, compulsory schooling will force some learning of outside values for comparison.  A certain amount of playground bullying should be expected.  It has some use in that it forces to normality sometimes unhealthy eccentricities.  The values of tolerance and kindness should, however, be insisted on in all spheres of a child’s life.  If they are not taught at home, then they must be taught at school.

Tertiary education has unfortunately become a money-making concern. We put Chinese students through a process line to churn out cash for the nation.  That should stop.  Tertiary education should be largely for the advancement of knowledge and skill of our own people.  Subjects taught should be either practical or of value in bettering our society and our moral lifestyles.  Government should dictate to the dons in their ivory towers as to how to run universities and colleges, by way of funding.  Covid 19 has put a temporary stop to the churning out of foreign students.  Unless foreign students are going to be of use to our nation or intend to better an impoverished overseas nation once studies are completed, we should  continue to refuse their entry to our higher learning halls.  The greed for funds from wealthy students is a short-sighted stupidity.

In conclusion I state that teachers should receive greater financial remuneration than they do for their valuable work.  They are very much undervalued in Australian society, which is why we have so many poor teachers.  They should receive a wage equal to that of university lecturers – in fact, even higher.  It takes more skill to impart knowledge to a youngster who may be averse to learning than it does to a more mature student who wants to learn.

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