The organisation of schooling in Australia is messy. The boundaries are so unclear. Children start school at various ages and at different times of the year in separate state systems into levels of schooling that are of mixed description. Then, Commonwealth and State authorities test the daylights out of them as if each Grade level was equal…and…worse still…make public pronouncements about comparative achievements.
The inquisitive may ask why Governments responsible for forcing children to go to school don’t just concentrate on straightening out things properly before they do anything else of the ‘education-revolutionary’ kind. Emerging countries do so with determination. Australia once concentrated on compulsory schooling with more determination than it does today. It limited the ages for compulsory attendance and it made sure that these people were taught by the best. Developing countries also set the age limits for compulsory attendance, extending the limits a little at a time and concentrating total effort on helping the inmates incarcerated by law in purpose-built schools. It is so important to do so, carefully. Seldom does one undertake other levels and types of schooling before it is sure that what they are doing is productive.
Countries, serious in their intent, will concentrate on compulsory schooling only and make sure that their bureaucracies are inhabited by those who know what they are doing. The country or state or authority that keeps this up and maintains its original ideals is sure to come out in front.
With semi-controlled mindlessness, in the late eighties Australia borrowed some doubtful business practices from USA and applied them to schooling. With perfervid haste, it is now adding aperient third-party blanket testing to school operations.
It was ‘on the way’ to a true schooling shape in the early 1980s. Authorities from overseas started to be impressed by what was happening down under and sent observers from Asia, Africa and America. However, by the end of the 1980s hubristic superordinates in various states of Australia had begun rearranging the deck-chairs. Using a deceptive business argot, they ‘restructured’. Original visions went up in smoke.
Retaining firm faith in the teaching force, many still believe that Australia can achieve the ultimate if it undertook its own style of thinking….and this is what this tocsin is all about.
To pursue the issue further, there is a compelling case for some consistent standards and for a holistic understanding of what the situation is now.