Adrian Piccoli warns on private tutoring
NSW Education minister Adrian Piccoli has warned that Australia should not try to emulate the high-pressure student environments of high-performing countries where private tutoring is endemic.
Speaking at a press conference before the First in Course awards from this year’s HSC, Mr Piccoli said that the global education results race may not be one Australia wants to win.
“We still have a very high quality education system in Australia, and there are aspects of other high performing countries that we don’t want to emulate,” he said.
“We don’t want the stress of the education climate in places like South Korea and some other countries where they have very stressful circumstances for students. Whilst they outperform us we don’t want to replicate every single thing that they do, like having 60% of primary school students having private tutoring.”
“What we do want to have is higher expectations about the achievement of our students.”
Mr Piccoli’s comments come after weeks of bad news about Australia’s declining performance on international tests including PISA and TIMSS, and then “flatlining” results in this year’s NAPLAN, which is taken by almost all year 3, 5, 7 and 9 students in the country.
East Asian countries including Singapore, South Korea, jurisdictions in China including Shanghai and Beijing, where private tutoring is widely used, performed very well on the international tests again this year.
He conceded in an opinion piece for Fairfax Media this week that NSW was 15 years behind other high performing countries in terms of reforms to lift teacher quality and the professional development available to them.
And he criticised his federal colleague Simon Birmingham for the refusal to commit to the “full Gonski” funds which would have reached schools in 2018 and 2019.
But he said politicians could only do so much.
“I as minister can make all kinds of pronouncements and put all kinds of glossy brochures out but unless the change of practice occurs in the classroom, we won’t see change in those results.”
The overall HSC results, which are released tomorrow to the 77,000 students who sat the exams this year, mark continuous slow progress in the achievements of NSW school leavers, according to the head of BOSTES, Tom Alegounarias.
Speaking at the HSC press conference, he said that “when we say that 10% of students achieved top band in a subject, and the following year it was 11%, it’s actually against the same measure of achievement.
“It’s very slow progress but the important thing is it’s real progress.”