NCWQ Education Report: February 2022

Education Adviser's Report Feb 2022

By Deslyn Taylor, NCWQ Education Advisor, M.Ed.(QUT), B.A. (U.Q); Grad. Dip. Comp.Ed. ((BCAE)

Education in Australia

Australia is ranked 39th out of 41 EU/OECD countries in terms of quality education and 21st out of 41 EU/OECD countries for child welfare.

“This raises serious red flags for children’s learning and development, which can severely impact their chances in life.” (1)

“UNICEF calls for the Australian Government to take action in five key areas:

  • Put children at the heart of equitable and sustainable progress – Improving the wellbeing of all children today is essential for achieving both equity and sustainability
  • Leave no child behind – National averages often conceal extreme inequalities and the severe disadvantage of groups at the bottom of the scale
  • Improve the collection of comparable data – in particular on violence against children, early childhood development, migration and gender
  • Use the rankings to help tailor policy responses to national contexts – No country does well on all indicators of well-being for children and all countries face challenges in achieving at least some child-focused SDG targets
  • Honour the commitment to global sustainable development – The overarching SDG framework engages all countries in a global endeavour” (1)

It is noted that equity is important and that national averages often conceal inequalities with those at the bottom of the scale being severely disadvantaged. The other area that is often not mentioned and where there appears a lack of data is violence against children. We hear of violence against women but often the children are not mentioned but the effect of a violent home on the children can have a major impact on them into their future even if they themselves are not the target of the attacks.

COVID has exacerbated these problems. The inequality divide has become more marked as schools were forced to rely on remote learning for long periods of time and children had to rely on home
computers and reliable fast Internet into their homes. The quality, power and speed of the equipment they were relying on differed vastly. (2)

Also during COVID it is noted that some children became more vulnerable.

“Suspicions about child abuse or neglect are often reported by schools, child care centres, and other people or services children regularly come into contact with. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected daily life through restrictions on people’s movements and interactions, while also affecting how businesses and services can operate—potentially limiting opportunities for child abuse and neglect to be detected and reported.”(3)

The UNICEF goals become increasingly more important and relevant and need to be addressed.


Girls and STEM

This has been an ongoing problem. “Women are underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers, and this poses new challenges at the dawn of the era of
digital transformation.” (4) Women in STEM professions are needed to provide role models and increase the visibility and power of women in male-dominated professions. This will help reduce stereotyping and discrimination but Policy makers and Organizations must act to help in achieving this goal.

Girls have been proven to be just as capable as boys at Mathematics but as they grow older society stereotyping influences their direction. Also it has been shown in some studies that girls do not perform as well in Multiple Choice tests as boys and yet this type of test is widely used in Mathematics and Science. (5)

This makes it more difficult for girls to achieve in STEM subjects. 


Deslyn Taylor (Education Advisor Qld)
M Ed.(QUT), B.A. (U.Q); Grad. Dip. Comp.Ed. (QUT)






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