Education’s Social Division

There is a significant trend towards private education in Australia – those going to non-government schools has increased from 25 percent in 1993 to 29 percent last year (ABS Statistics).

Chris Bonnor is concerned that this is part of a trend that is creating social and academic apartheid in our schools. In his article “How to end apartheid in Australian schools” he argues that education is no longer considered a public good. Instead it’s more of a positional race to get our kids the best chance in life.

The result is a selective process that allows principals to choose who walks in through the school gates. He says that’s the case in at least half of all our secondary schools. This is creating a very different environment to the school system that many of us went through — where we mixed with children from all walks of life.

The government over the last decade seems to have embraced the demand for private education by reducing investment in public education. The Labor government’s commitment to an “education revolution” might help reverse this trend, but the concern is whether their approach is promoting a more selective approach as Principals fight for top place in the MySchools website listing.

Australia’s rich-poor gap is widening. Surely the only way to help even the balance is to ensure that all people have the same chances at the start of their life — increasingly in Australia that is not the case.

See more facts and figures on the shift to private education here: A Very Private Education

First published on CBS News

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