The Australian Education Union Victorian branch will today launch its ‘Put Education 1st’ campaign for the state election. This election will be defined by the parties’ education policies, with Victoria needing a massive boost of 1,600 teachers on average every year to ensure all students reach their potential.
The AEU’s campaign will unite Victorians who care about public education and is calling for all parties to commit to:
- Funding two years of free preschool for all three and four-year olds.
- Fund all Victorian students to at least the national average.
- Funding for an average of 1,600 additional teachers for public schools every year for the next decade in addition to growth.
- At least 70 percent of state vocational education funding be quarantined for public provision through TAFEs and that the remaining 30 percent be allocated on a contestable basis to providers, including TAFE.
The AEU is also releasing new polling data that shows education will be a key vote-shifting issue. Australian Education Union Victorian branch president, Meredith Peace, said voters want political parties who are prepared to commit to ‘Put Education 1st and provide the resources public education needs.
“94% of Victorians view education as an important issue in Victorian politics,” Ms Peace said.
“The significant investment we’ve seen over the past few years by the Andrews Government must be built upon to continue to lift the quality of public education in this state.
“Victorian public school students are still the lowest funded in the country, $1589 behind the national average per student. This has to change. Voters want to see investment in their children’s education.
“Victoria is growing by 3,000 people every week and we will have 90,000 additional students entering schools in the next 5 years. If Victoria doesn’t put education first now with an average of 1,600 new teachers a year in addition to growth then we will not capitalize on the improvements we have seen.
“Over 50% of three-year-olds in Victoria are missing out on a preschool education. Research shows that children who attend two years of preschool with a qualified preschool teacher have better cognitive, emotional and social development.
“Victorian TAFEs also remain the lowest-funded of any state despite the investment by the Andrews Government. Victorians want TAFE to be at the centre of our skills and training system. Government must reduce the massive amounts of taxpayer money being allocated to private for-profit providers and deliver at least 70% of government funding to TAFE.
“Our polling shows Victorians believe funding for public schools is a top order issue in Victorian politics. Victorians want a government that will fund our students to the national average.
“This polling clearly demonstrates the importance of education policy for this Victorian state election. We are calling on all political parties and candidates to commit to funding our public education system to a level that ensures every Victorian has access to high quality education,” said Ms Peace.
Key poll data
- 94 percent of Victorians view education as an important issue in Victorian politics
- 91 percent of Victorians believe that funding of public schools is a very important or important issue in Victorian politics
- 79 percent believe funding of preschools is an important issue
- 79 percent believe every child deserves the chance to benefit from three and four year old preschool regardless of their parents capacity to pay
- 81 percent think funding of TAFE is an important issue
- 77 percent of Victorians think TAFE should be at the centre of our skills and training system
- 61 percent support allocating at least 70 percent of vocational education and training funding to public TAFEs
MEDIA CONTACT: Rosina Rayns 0401 991 792