Future levels of educational attainment in Australia will be key determinants of individual, social and economic prosperity. Policies that deliver an increase in education and training levels will have wide-ranging benefits for individuals, standards of living and social cohesion. Over recent decades there have been steady increases in the education levels of young Australians. Future generations will be much more highly educated as current levels of educational achievement flow through the age structure over time. However, despite generally increasing education levels, Australia has one of the lowest secondary school completion rates among comparable countries. Australia's future economic competitiveness will depend on increasing the numbers of young people who complete 12 years of school or equivalent. And, while young Australians perform well on average, large numbers of young people leave school with unacceptably low levels of school achievement. This paper focuses on two specific concerns: first, the significant proportion of young people who become disengaged during their school years, achieve only minimal educational outcomes and have limited subsequent engagement in work or further learning; and second, the shortage of young people with the knowledge and skills required for effective participation in the Australian workforce. Five strategies are identified for addressing these concerns.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/geoff_masters/108/