There is no more important element in preparing Australians for the future we deserve than effective educational opportunity.
- STEAM not STEM
- We Give A Gonski
- Visual Arts and Music in Primary Schools
- Drama and Dance Education in Schools
- Teacher's Pay
- National School Cultural Engagement Program (NSCEP)
- HECS & Lifelong Learning
- National Touring
STEAM not STEM - AKA (Science, Technology, Engineering, ARTS, Maths)
The arts is an essential part of a well-rounded, valuable and worthwhile education. Engagement in the arts helps to develop a person's emotional, intellectual and cultural grounding.
We appreciate the importance of science-based subjects, and see that their value is enhanced when pursued in the context of a deep and broad arts and humanities education. A mountain of research shows that artistic engagement nourishes all learning and connects young Australians with many creative and mainstream industries, contributing to the development of a vibrant, modern and inclusive Australian society.
The Arts Party believes that every high school student in Australia should, at a minimum, be able to attend dance, drama, media arts, music or visual arts classes taught at least weekly by a trained teacher as part of their curriculum.
We support the idea of a National Curriculum for The Arts. The Arts Party believe that the Australian Arts Curriculum developed by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority in 2011, is a starting point for discussion. However we also understand that this proposed Curriculum is a "watering down" and simplification of the curricula already in place in many states. The Arts Party support a review of the proposed Curriculum, aimed at ensuring that the best ideas and practices from each State Curriculum are included in the development of a more robust National Curriculum for The Arts.
Most importantly, we must ensure that the States and Territories are provided with adequate resources for implementation of the outcome of such a review.
Ultimately, the separation of learning areas is over simplistic and a more holistic model of curriculum development and educational outcome development needs to be developed for Australian schools. The Arts Party would support research and testing of alternative education models, beyond amendments to the current methodology.
We Give A Gonski
Widening inequality is a leading cause of dissatisfaction and resentment in our society. The Gonski plan for education can directly help to address that sense of injustice - by addressing the single most important factor in maintaining equality in our society; equal access to quality education for each and every Australian.
The Arts Party endorses the findings of the Gonski report into primary schools and fully supports its complete implementation by the Federal Government. The Commonwealth government should provide increased capital funding to all schools, government and non-government, and there should be a greater monitoring and reporting on school infrastructure in all sectors and states.
Visual Arts & Music in Primary Schools
Access to the Arts in Primary school education must be improved. Firing creative thought at such an early age brings benefits that flow through and enrich entire lives.
Music and the visual arts are key building blocks in developing the minds of all Australians from the very beginning of their studies.
Beyond the clear importance of access to the best possible comprehensive education for all primary school students, The Arts Party wants to see music education, expressed through singing, dancing and instrument use, and also visual/media arts instruction, as mandatory in the education of every primary school child.
Close to 70% of state primary school children in Australia currently do not have access to a decent music education; a shocking situation.
Drama and Dance Education in Schools
As part of the Federal Government's commitment to funding specific education initiatives, across the country, The Arts Party wish to see the federal government support access to Arts Education for all Australian students. We would like to see funding made available to facilitate the the teaching of both drama and dance to all students, at least once a week. We want to work together with the State and Territory governments to fund this initiative, by working to develop a program, with the States and Territories, of worthwhile and valuable Arts tutoring in each school - ensuring that all students, no matter what part of Australia they are from, have access to this mind-opening and creativity nurturing experience.
The Arts Party will work with State and Territory governments towards a system of parity of pay, for all public primary and high-school teachers.
Teaching is one of the most important professions in the country - and teachers are some of the most important people to the economy, and the future prosperity of Australia. To attract the best people (even to a profession that attracts people for altruistic reason, such as teaching) you have to pay a decent minimum amount.
Subsidising those States and Territories that pay teachers the least, to pay them more, would not be fair on those States and Territories that are already paying their teachers more.
However, The Arts Party strongly believes that equity of pay across the country, for Teachers, is essential, and that those States and Territories that are currently paying their teachers less than others should pay them more.
In the same way that the future of Australian Education was supported by the development of a National Curriculum, the future of the Australian Education system will be enhanced by ensuring equity of pay for all teachers (with some specific allowance for further benefits to be awarded to those willing to work in some regional areas).
As a consequence, we propose to work with the State and Territory governments to fund an "equal pay for teachers" campaign that would see all teachers eventually paid the same amount (based on "best rates", which are currently found in Western Australia).
National School Cultural Engagement Program (NSCEP)
The National School Chaplaincy Program (NSCP) was established by the Australian Government in special relationship with the state governments. It provides resources (over $300 million dollars) for schools to engage religious chaplains to augment their existing faculty.
The Arts Party wants to retain the structure and funding model of this government program, but significantly change its remit in keeping with contemporary Australian values, and with our commitment to arts-focussed educational practices.
The Arts Party proposes the NSCP becomes the National School Cultural Engagement Program (NSCEP), whereby schools would retain the existing capacity to employ religious chaplains, and inherit an alternate capacity to engage experts in secular ethics and citizenship, psychologists, and artists-in-residence.
To focus briefly on our party’s main interest: a school might engage, from a national register of qualified artists, a painter, sculptor, musician, actor or theatre director to work in their school for a semester or a year, or might cooperate with other schools in their area to share the services of such artists.
To those educationalists and families who value the existing program, this change proposes no threat; to the many who are troubled by the program, it offers exciting alternatives, within an existing programmatic structure, and within an existing funding protocol.
HECS & Lifelong Learning
The HECS system was not originally introduced in order that all educational expenses should be repaid. Education is an investment by the individual and society in a better shared future. Society benefits from educating its members, everyday. We need to manage the price of education to stop it being a barrier for knowledge, and for that reason, we do not support deregulation of undergraduate fees.
While we believe knowledge should be freely available to all, we accept that qualifications will incur cost. In order to encourage more individuals to partake in higher education, and lifelong learning in order to gain qualifications, we propose that HECS payment rates should be halved and not linked to inflation. The pursuit of knowledge alone should not incur a cost and must be made possible by continued development of MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) by universities and learning facilities across Australia. Thankfully Australians are already able to access MOOCS that have also been created across the world (See Digital Access).
True life-long learning is not just essential for our economy and our industrial future, it is also a pleasure and luxury; a luxury we can afford to extend to those who have worked hard their entire lives, for the future benefit of us all. The Arts Party would like to see a mandated 75% subsidy for all enrolment fees for Australian retirees wishing to undertake further higher education. This subsidy would is not only a right that should be afforded, it is also a conduit through which some retirees might find new and interesting pursuits in which they would like to engage, further encouraging their active and valuable involvement in the economy.
We will set-up a $50 million per-annum fund for the purposes of seed-funding such enterprises through the current Australian University system. We will further monitor and assess the requirements of such a program over time, and review the situation in the coming years.
The Arts Party believe that a lot can be gained with a only a small amount of increased funding, in terms of National Touring.
We would like to see a doubling of the number of companies with National Touring status. To facilitate and support this we would like to see an additional funding of $50 million per-annum to assist commercial producers to undertake tours throughout regional Australia.
Links to other Policy Areas:
- ACCESS TO ARTS & CULTURE
- SUPPORTING OUR CREATIVE INDUSTRIES
- EDUCATION ACCESS
- IMPROVING OUR COMMUNITY
- REVENUE RAISING