Gonski reforms won’t stop rising education costs

20-Aug-2013

By Caitlin Scarr

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The implementation of the federal government’s education reforms would do little to stem the rise in learning expenses, with an industry executive urging parents to consider savings options to counter future costs.

“Increasing state and territory acceptance of the Gonski model for school funding might suggest to parents that the cost of their children’s education will fall, but in my view that is unlikely to be the case,” Lifeplan Funds Management head Matt Walsh said.

Walsh said the Gonski model was not designed to counteract education costs in Australia, which had risen steadily in the past decade.

Parents considering private school education should be particularly wary of rising costs, he warned, but government school costs might also increase.

Australian education cost increases now outstrip the rise in the consumer price index (CPI) by more than two to one. In the past 12 months, education costs have risen by 5.7 per cent, while the CPI rose only 2.3 per cent.

Walsh said the Gonski model would target disadvantaged schools, and funding across the education system would not be standardised.

He said parents should prepare now for any future increase in education costs.

“Parents should consider starting to save in advance for their children’s education, even if it’s just a small amount each week as this can add up to quite a lot over time,” he said.

The Gonski agreements came in response to the recommendations of the independent Gonski Review.

The review found there was an urgent need to invest more in schools and put in place fairer, more consistent funding arrangements across Australia.

The government has signed agreements with New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory to provide increased funding to their primary and secondary schools. Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory are yet to sign the agreement.

The Gonski agreements already signed will see an extra $5 billion channelled to NSW schools, with an extra $191 million to ACT schools, an extra $656 million to South Australian schools, an extra $400 million to Tasmanian schools, and an extra $3.7 billion to Victorian schools.

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