Today’s announcement by the Morrison Government to deliver another $10 million special deal to private schools to improve COVID-19 hygiene measures ignores the urgent need to improve hygiene measures in public schools across the country.
"It is extraordinary that the Morrison Government continues to deny additional funding for public schools in their response to COVID-19,” AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said.
“Mr Morrison has once again favoured private schools with additional funding while telling the community that ‘we are all in this together’. Clearly his government has prioritised private schools over public schools.”
“Principals, teachers and education support staff across Australia have undertaken an extraordinary task to ensure that teaching and learning continues in schools during COVID-19,” Ms Haythorpe said.
“However they need to be supported in this work with the appropriate health guidelines and resources, including sufficient sanitation and hygiene equipment.”
“AEU members have expressed significant concerns about managing social distancing requirements while on school grounds, and governments must ensure that they have the necessary soap, hand sanitiser, hygiene facilities and extra cleaning available,” Ms Haythorpe said.
“The Morrison Government’s decision to provide an additional $10 million of funding for the private sector will be seen as further disregard of the urgent need of the public sector.”
“Public schools have played a vital role in our national response to the pandemic, ensuring the provision of high-quality education has continued for our students, either via remote learning or with face-to-face tuition for the children of essential workers and children from vulnerable circumstances,” Ms Haythorpe said.
“It is time for the Morrison Government to show some respect to the public education workforce and to provide equivalent funding to ensure the health and safety of staff and students.”