The establishment of a committee into the impact of COVID-19 on student learning, while overdue, is welcome news.
Shadow Minister for Education Josh Willie said the committee must look at all aspects of educational disruption, and ensure any advice is put in place across all sectors into the future.
“Before the pandemic hit, data from the Productivity Commission showed Tasmanian school students had the worst post-school outcomes, lowest literacy and lowest attendance and retention rates in the country.
“Labor called on the government to have a serious look at the impacts of COVID-19 on student learning in June. Why has it taken the Minister until the halfway mark of Term 3 to put something in place?
“There’s no doubt remote learning exposed many inequalities across the education system. The Grattan Institute showed some students lost as much as a month of learning over the lockdown period.
“This year there have been adjustments for Year 11 and 12 courses, but the assessment process for Year 11 and 12 students was already plagued with issues pre-COVID, including some incorrect ATAR, VET and TCE results being delivered.
“At a time where students have already had their education disrupted, Minister Rockliff must ensure the rest of this year goes smoothly, and students and families can have confidence towards the end.
“The committee will be looking at the impact on students in the early years, and the government needs to commit to more funding in this area. With 4,500 children in kindergarten alone, $180,000 and nine redeployed teachers are nowhere near enough to make a real difference to early learning.
“Labor is also urging the government to adopt its policy of having mental health workers in all schools – it is more important than ever to ensure students feel supported with any challenges they are facing.
“This period has been challenging for students of all ages, and the government must ensure there are no negative long-term educational impacts.”
Shadow Minister for Education