As the dust settles on the result of the state election, we take a look at how a triumphant Daniel Andrews and his Labor party will shape education in Victoria over the next few years.
In the lead up to the election, the party promised:
- An additional $1.68 billion on education over the next 10 years
- To build 100 new schools with in-built kindergartens over eight years
- Free 15 hours of kindergarten for three-year-olds by 2022
- To employ more than 190 mental health professionals to work in every state high school
- A policy that will provide free sanitary products in schools.
From a purely educational perspective, it is worth comparing Labor’s policies with those of the Coalition and the Greens to see how things might have looked for the sector with a different government in place.
The Coalition had some pretty big changes in mind. These included:
- Enlisting Centre for Independent Studies expert Jennifer Buckingham to review the state’s school curriculum
- Replacing Safe Schools with an anti-bullying initiative spearheaded by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation
- Reintroducing religious instruction (which was scrapped, at least in its full capacity, by Labor)
- Making it easier for principals to expel students
- Free textbooks for high school students
- The implementation of a ‘Police in Schools’ program.
The Greens were more focused on the public school sector. Their suggestions included:
- Boosting state funding per student to the national average over eight years
- Removing laws that deliver at least 25 per cent of public school funding to private schools
- Stopping public schools from charging for ‘non-core’ activities
- Finishing the school building maintenance backlog within two years.
In the end, Labor’s large scale promises to develop new schools and kindergartens, along with a commitment to ‘progressive’ measures like free sanitary items and mental health staff, won over the Coalition’s premise of simplifying education in Victoria.