THE inclusion of year seven as part of secondary school education is a move that both the Liberal Party and SA-BEST have pledged to make, if elected.
Incumbent Liberal Member for Schubert Stephan Knoll and SA-BEST leader Nick Xenophon explained their party’s education policies at The Bunyip’s debate last fortnight, highlighting several areas
of the sector that must be improved.
Both parties’ policies include the addition of year seven into the high school education system, and flag boosting foreign language education.
Mr Knoll said the Liberals’ education policy also promises to increase skills training and literacy learning.
“We have committed to a ‘literacy guarantee’ that will see every person in year one get a phonics check, so we can identify early on the learning difficulties,” he said.
“Then, we can put in increased resources at that early time, and make sure that kids with disabilities, or other reading difficulties, can catch up back to the main stream.
“We’ve also put on the table a comprehensive policy on skills training and TAFE, and funding an extra 20,800 training places.
“We know by giving the kids the skills to go out and start their own jobs, they can go out and contribute and get better and higher paying jobs.”
SA-BEST’s policy focuses on teacher support; encouragement for teachers to move into regional areas; and a rebuild of the vocational training sector.
“As part of the education package, we want to make sure that we bring back industry skills boards, which were defunded by this government, which every other state has,” Mr Xenophon said.
“We need to rebuild that to make sure that industry can work with education so we can have those jobs for the future for our kids.”
Meanwhile, Education Minister Susan Close said the Labor Party has shown its support for the state’s education system, injecting significant funds into schools over its tenure in government.
“There’s the nearly $700 million in upgrading 91 of our schools; $250 million for 139 government schools to get STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) facilities; increased funding for
non-government schools, particularly targeted at those that aren’t well-off,” she said during a visit to Gawler last month.
“(Also), sticking to our share of Gonski means that public schools will have more resources for their literacy and numeracy.
“The laptop program for year 10s rolls out from next year, so all public school year 10s will have laptops.”
Labor has also committed to increasing play-based learning and outdoor play areas for preschools and children’s centres.