As we await the [overdue] fourth instalment of the Australian Government’s Intergenerational Report and are within the 2015-2016 “Budget Zone”, I thought it timely to revisit a piece written in October last year by Linda J. Graham and Marianne Fenech in ‘The Conversation’ and consider these comments in the current and near-future policy debates for looming Federal and State Budgets.
Dr. Ken Henry’s phrase, that Australian Youth are experiencing a “capability deprivation” is as salient as it is bleak. The debate on whether such changes are cyclical or structural are very real yet the extent of change [trend] within youth labour markets seems remarkable, at least to this author’s eyes. Policy responses, in all jurisdictions, seem less responsive than these trends would suggest.
Graham and Fenech..
The OECD’s 2009 Jobs for Youth report, released on the heels of the global financial crisis, made a number of policy recommendations to the Australian government to prevent a rise in youth unemployment. Five years on, youth unemployment has risen from around 8% to 14.8%, and around one in five children do not complete year 12, according to data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research.
One of the recommendations made by the OECD in the 2009 Jobs for Youth Report was to ensure young people did not leave school without some sort of qualification. Another was that governments should put an even greater emphasis on early-age (i.e. before age five) education of children from disadvantaged groups.
It is not surprising the OECD made recommendations in both these areas given that success in school correlates with quality early learning experiences, particularly for disadvantaged children.
However, rather than address the root causes of early school leaving and subsequent youth unemployment, Australian governments – both state and federal, past and present – have reached for simple policy levers that will do little to improve the educational chances of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The full article here.