Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the Budget represents a clear vision “from the high chair to higher education” and will “ensure every student can choose the best education path to help them reach their potential.”
Forefront on the education agenda is a commitment to reforming the early childhood education sector, with $440.1 million going to the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education to increase access to early learning until the end of 2019.
The government will provide another $14.0 million to support the work of the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA), as well as $2.5 billion in early learning and childcare subsidies.
Birmingham said the subsidy measures were set to benefit nearly one million families.
The reforms will retarget “subsidies towards those earning the least and working the most” introduce “hourly rate caps to put downward pressure on fee increases”, and abolish “the annual rebate cap for most families”, he said in a statement.
Schools will also receive $247.0 million over four years to continue the National School Chaplaincy Programme (NSCP), intended to provide support for approximately 3000 schools to employ a chaplain.
As part of the plan, chaplains would be required to upgrade their skills by undertaking cyberbullying training provided by the eSafety Commissioner and continue to support community involvement in their schools.
This year’s Budget has also addressed the national shortage of teachers.
The government has signaled its intention to explore new and diverse entry paths for would-be teachers.
The announcement follows the implimentation of programs like Teach for Australia that accelerate high-achievers from other fields into the education system.
“The High Achieving Teachers program will help attract up to 200 highly skilled people into the teaching profession from a range of fields and support the education needs of students in areas where there may be shortages of educators,” Birmingham said.