Australia’s declining performance in maths, reading and science will cost the nation $120 billion over the next 45 years, according to new analysis.
That’s the conclusion by the not-for-profit Public Education Foundation, which has for the first time linked students’ results to the impact on the economy.
“The cost of the overall fall to Australia is enormous,” the foundation’s executive director David Hetherington was quoted by the ABC as saying.. It’s $120 billion in future lost GDP.
“Australia simply can’t afford to let this slide in educational performance continue. If we don’t arrest these declines, all of us will suffer.”
The organisation also found that disproportionate falls among the lowest performing students were adding to the equation.
“What’s even more concerning is that we’re letting the kids at the bottom slide further and faster than the kids at the top, so there’s a $20-billion effect to that alone.”The paper uses an OECD formula to assess the economic impact of Australia’s diminishing performanc
e in the Programme for International Assessment, known as PISA.
It found that results for the bottom 10 percent of students have fallen one-and-a-half times as much as those in the top decile.
“Kids at the top end of the system have better access to teacher coverage, better access to resources, and better access to curriculum subjects that offer higher tertiary entrance scores,” Mr Hetherington said.
“So all these things come together to create widening inequalities in performance. No-one is quarantined from that. It touches all of us into the future.”
Kookaburras captain Mark Knowles will be the flag bearer to lead the Australian team into Wednesday night’s opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
The Olympic gold medallist was a surprise choice, with most predicting hurdler and Gold Coast local Sally Pearson would receive the honour.
“It means everything,” Knowles said when accepting the honour on Monday night.
Chef de Mission Steve Moneghetti said Knowles represented all that was good about the games and sport.
Knowles said it would be an “extremely, extremely proud moment” to carry the flag into the opening ceremony for his fourth and final Commonwealth Games.
“This is amazing,” he told a reception for the 710-strong team at a reception on the Gold Coast.
“I grew up playing a sport I absolutely love on the grass fields of Rockhampton, and I stand here now in front of this group of absolute stars.”
The 34-year-old Kookaburras skipper, who previously carried the flag at the closing of the 2014 Glasgow Games, will retire after the Gold Coast games.
South Africa’s Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, an anti-apartheid campaigner and former wife of the late Nelson Mandela, has died aged 81.
She died following a long illness that had kept her in and out of hospital since the start of the year, her family said in a statement.
“She fought valiantly against the apartheid state and sacrificed her life for the freedom of the country,” the statement said.
“She kept the memory of her imprisoned husband Nelson Mandela alive during his years on Robben Island and helped give the struggle for justice in South Africa one its most recognisable faces.”
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa led the outpouring of grief for Ms Madikizela-Mandela, paying tribute to her in front of a crowd of hundreds gathered outside her home in Soweto.
“Winnie Mandela … leaves a huge legacy and, as we say in African culture, a gigantic tree has fallen,” he said.
“She has been one of the strongest women in our struggle, who suffered immensely under the apartheid regime, who was imprisoned, who was banished, who was treated very badly.
“Winnie Mandela had a great impact on the African continent. She is fondly remembered as a very gallant and brave person.”
Locals of the Soweto neighbourhood and supporters of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) sang songs and danced in the rain as they remembered Ms Madikizela-Mandela.
“It is very sad that today we lost a stalwart, who is an inspiration, who is still an inspiration even after her passing to all the women in South Africa,” ANC supporter Wendy Makhoba said.
“We are here to mark this saddest moment in our history.
“As young people, we grew up in this part of town and I know everywhere else in Africa [people will] say thanks to mama Winnie Mandela for the role she played in our struggle,” Themba Mbhele said.
“She is our mother, she was there when things were tough.”
Together, Mandela and Ms Madikizela-Mandela were a symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle for nearly three decades.