We have a Plan for Real Action - 2013 Election

9. Deliver better education

9 of 12

We will deliver better schools, encourage better teachers, better teaching and give principals, communities and parents a greater say over schools.

Supporting parental choice

All Australian children deserve a high quality education that enables them to develop the skills necessary to realise their potential. Unlike Labor, the Liberals support parental school choice because we actually believe in it. We will not punish parents for investing in their children’s education.

Improving the performance of schools at the local level

We will provide better schools, encourage better teachers and provide more choice for parents by giving communities and parents greater control over schools.

  • We will put parents, principals and school communities, not unaccountable bureaucrats, in charge of determining how their school will be run to improve performance – by instilling a ‘students come first’ culture amongst staff and ensuring the delivery of better education outcomes at the local school level.
  • We will work with the States and Territories to encourage State schools to choose to become independent schools, providing simpler budgeting and resources allocation and more autonomy in decision making.
  • We will support teachers in the classroom by ensuring our curriculum is rigorous without being too prescriptive or overcrowded.
  • We will continue current levels of funding for schools, indexed to deal with real increases in costs and we will ensure that money is targeted based on the social and economic status of the community.
  • We will make more investment in science education at primary schools. We will restore the Primary Connections science education programme which is strongly supported by Australian Nobel Laureate, Professor Brian Schmidt, following recent Labor cuts to the successful programme.
  • We will work together with social media operators, schools, parents and children to tackle cyber bullying and other harmful material and behaviour targeted at individual children online, by measures such as ensuring large social media operators rapidly remove harmful online material directed at a child.
  • We will continue the National School Chaplaincy Programme in Schools to support the emotional wellbeing of students.

Strengthening higher education

We will strengthen higher education and encourage Australians of all ages to further their education so that they can gain a comparative advantage and get ahead in the new global economy. We believe higher education has a vital dual role in our society as an engine of economic growth, through educating our workforce and producing quality research.

  • We will ensure the continuation of the current arrangements of university funding.
  • We will work with the sector to reduce the burden of red tape, regulation and reporting, freeing up the sector to concentrate on delivering results and services.
  • We will review and restructure government research funding to make sure each dollar is spent as effectively as possible.
  • We will ensure the sector has a stable, long-term source of infrastructure funding.
  • We will work with the sector to grow higher education as an export industry and to support international students studying in Australia.

Investing in job skills training

We will invest in advanced job skills training – including trade skills.

  • We will boost and retain skills in the workplace and give incentives to employers to take young people and older Australians off welfare and into work.
  • Our immigration programme will focus on skilled migrants targeting skills shortages and people who can make a contribution from day one in a job.
  • We will work urgently with the States to aim to have 40 per cent of Year 12 students studying a foreign language, preferably an Asian language, within a decade to equip them with the skills necessary for the jobs of the future.

New opportunities for our youth to learn in the Asian region

We aim to develop stronger people-to-people relationships with the countries in our region and this presents enormous opportunities for the youth of Australia.

  • We will establish a new two-way 'Colombo Plan' that doesn’t just bring the best and brightest talent from the region to Australia’s universities but that also takes Australia’s best and brightest talent to Asian universities to learn more about the countries in our region and to develop closer ties and stronger people-to-people relationships.
  • By awarding scholarships to our students and fostering this ‘Asia-capable’ learning and developing these people-to-people relationships in those countries we are really developing the leaders of the future as was previously done under Sir Robert Menzies’ ‘Colombo Plan’. It is through such people-to-people schemes that deeper engagement and closer ties with the countries in our region can be developed.