Australia celebrates World Teachers' Day on Friday 30 October 2009. This year the theme is 'What makes a great teacher?' The Victorian Institute of Teaching is inviting students to answer this question by preparing a film of up to three minutes. See details of prizes and entry requirements for the P–6 and 7–12 categories. The creators of the top ten short films will have their work displayed on the Institute's website. The event aims to highlight the extent to which students and school communities value teachers' work. See also details of how the event is being celebrated in Western Australia.
The 2009 annual conference of the Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA), held last month, passed two motions urging the Australian Government to delay the publication of school-level NAPLAN data. See the range of information on school performance reporting available on the home page of the APPA website. See also article in The Age 5 October 2009, describing new research by Margaret Wu of the Assessment Research Centre at the University of Melbourne, which discussed the reliability of results from national literacy and numeracy tests, and earlier article in The Age 30 September 2009.
The Government will provide $17.4 million to help offset education costs for families and schools in drought-affected areas. Approximately 2,310 schools will receive the funding, which can be used for educational support, or for items such as textbooks, uniforms, subject levies, excursions and school camps. See media statement by Australian Government Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, 5 October 2009.
Several commentators on education and youth welfare have raised concerns over the New South Wales Government's plans to make it compulsory for all students to either complete Year 12 or be in full-time employment from next year. See article in The Sydney Morning Herald 9 October 2009. See also article in The Courier Mail 7 October 2009.
The New South Wales Minister for Education and Training, Verity Firth, has announced ten new tenders that have been awarded for the design and construction of 66 new science and language centres in NSW high schools. The $85 million in funding is part of the State Government's rollout of the Building the Education Revolution (BER) program. See Minister's media statement 1 October 2009.
The Department of Education and Training in New South Wales has made Mandarin 'a centrepiece of foreign language teaching' in the State's public schools, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph 9 October 2009.
The New South Wales Government has released new literacy learning guides mandating explicit phonics teaching for young learners on a daily basis. See article 29 September and commentary 7 October 2009 in The Australian.
Victorian Education Minister Bronwyn Pike has announced that the State's public schools will receive free internet access from the commencement of the 2010 school year. See Minister's media statement 5 October 2009.
In Western Australia new early learning childcare centres are to be built on school sites to support families and help integrate child care with early childhood education. The centres will cater for children from birth to five years old. Construction is expected to be completed in 2010. See media release by State Education Minister Liz Constable 6 October 2009.
Students are using memory- and cognitive-enhancing nootropics, or 'smart drugs' to improve their performance during examinations. Researcher Vince Cakic notes that if the drugs are considered to be performance-enhancing, the introduction of drug testing before examinations is a possibility. See article in The Age 2 October 2009.
The Centre for Community Health is hosting a seminar in Melbourne on 21 October 2009, examining how early childhood services can become more accessible and relevant to men who are parenting babies and young children. More information can be found at the seminar website.