A new education research brief from public school advocates Save Our Schools (SOS) reveals the alarming extent of the resource gap in Australia’s schools.
The brief shows that the gaps in access to education resources between advantaged and disadvantaged schools in Australia are among the largest in the world and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The brief claims that disadvantaged students in Australia are “being denied equal opportunities to learn” because they have less access to qualified teachers and material resources than advantaged students, the brief stated.
Data from PISA 2015 published in a supplementary report by the OECD show that disadvantaged schools in Australia experience more teacher shortages, higher teacher-student ratios and more shortages or inadequacy of material educational resources than advantaged schools.
The report said Australia must provide more resources for disadvantaged schools if the large achievement gaps are to be reduced.
The key findings from the brief:
- Australia has the largest gap in teacher shortages between disadvantaged and advantaged schools in the OECD and the 4th largest of the 70 countries/regions participating in PISA 2015;
- Inequity in the allocation of educational staff between disadvantaged and advantaged schools in Australia is the highest in the OECD according to the PISA measure of equity in the allocation of staff and the 3rd highest of the 70 countries/regions participating in PISA 2015;
- Australian is one of only seven OECD countries where disadvantaged schools have a higher student-teacher ratio than advantaged schools and the gap in Australia is the equal 2nd largest. Australia’s gap is the equal 12th highest of the 70 countries/regions participating in PISA 2015;
- Australia has the 4th largest gap in the shortage or inadequacy of educational material and physical infrastructure between disadvantaged and advantaged schools in the OECD;
- Inequity in the allocation of material resources in Australia is the 5th highest in the OECD according to the PISA measure of equity in resource allocation and the 15th highest of the 70 participating countries/regions
SOS’ national convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said private schools are “better equipped in terms of human and material resources” than public schools.
“Public schools have greater shortages in teaching and material resources and higher student-teacher ratios than private schools,” he said in a statement today.
“Many academic studies show that better targeting of teaching and material resources to disadvantaged schools would improve the results of disadvantaged students.”
Cobbold added that improving the results of low-SES students to match the current Australian averages would lift Australia into the top 10 countries in the world in reading and science and substantially improve Australia’s position in mathematics.