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Australia's private schools spend more on students: figures

03-04-2011 09:43 BJT

CANBERRA, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Australia average spent on educating each student at an independent school is 13,920 U.S. dollars, outstripping the 11,279 U.S. dollars spent on each student in a government school and 10,161 U.S. dollars on those in Catholic schools, latest figures showed on Friday.

The federal government on Friday released the revamped My School website, giving parents more information about school performance and reveals how much money each school receives from the federal and state governments, such as fees, charges, parent contributions and other private sources.

The figures showed that private schools spend twice as much per student on capital works, compared with public schools.

According to the federal Minister for School Education Peter Garrett, the reveal of figures would boost funding transparency, help inform debate about education and help to ensure "we are providing the best education we can for students".

"Across the independent sector I think there will be some diversity in what is uncovered and discovered with MySchool, but all of it is about giving us a better platform for debate - one that enables us to have a productive yarn across the sector and make sure that parents have got a really good idea about how education is traveling in this country," he said in a statement released on Friday.

"MySchool 2.0 is about transparency and it is about providing families and the community with the information they need to understand their schools and their kids' schools."

Meanwhile, Barry McGaw, the chairman of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), said it could spark debate about how resources were divided between the education bureaucracy and schools.

Principals of both private and public schools remain concerned about the site, saying that the financial information now published on the MySchool website is not properly explained.

Australian Education Union Federal President Angelo Gavrielatos expressed doubt the accuracy of the MySchool website, saying that government schools cost more than private schools, because they educated the vast majority of students with high needs, who were more expensive to educate.

Government schools educate 77 percent of students from low- income families, 86 percent of indigenous students, 80 percent of students with a disability, 72 percent of students in regional Australia and 84 percent of students living in remote areas.

"These figures are just the tip of the iceberg for private schools and do not take into account the money that is held in assets, investment portfolios, trusts and foundations," he told The Australian newspaper on Friday.

"It is only by looking at the total resources of schools can we get an understanding of the relationship between resources and outcomes."

Garrett intends to raise the issue with education ministers to ask ACARA to investigate how to report on the financial reserves available to all schools, which in some long-established independent schools can run to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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