In Australia, the postcode that you’re born in can radically impact your whole future.
Almost one third of children from the lowest socioeconomic households start school unprepared in at least one key area of child development, such as language or cognitive skills. (MI 2015) This gap is often sustained and sometimes widens over the course of a child’s education.
Students from disadvantaged backgrounds (low socioeconomic households, regional communities and/or Indigenous) are more likely to begin secondary school below international benchmarks for reading than their more advantaged peers – and are less likely to catch up. (MI 2015)
By age 15, children from the lowest socioeconomic households are on average almost three years behind in school than children from the highest socioeconomic households. (ACER 2013) Approximately 40 per cent of children from the lowest socioeconomic households do not complete Year 12.
As a result, only one quarter attend university by their mid-20s compared to two-thirds of young people from the highest socioeconomic backgrounds. (MI 2015)
The lower the level of education a child obtains, the further their opportunities in life diminish. Access to employment and earnings are reduced. Levels of health and wellbeing are impacted.
Social effects are severe. For instance, 75 per cent of children in the juvenile justice system dropped out of school before Year 10. (Australian Institute of Criminology 2005)
Without access to basic skills, large groups of young Australians are set for lives of disadvantage, rather than opportunity. Across reading, science and maths, the proportion of top-performing Australian students is falling, while the proportion of students without basic proficiency in maths and reading is large and growing. (ACER 2013)
Two in five Australian adults have low level reading skills and 55 per cent have low level mathematics skills. (ABS 2013)
Australia is slipping down the international rankings. In maths, for instance, we have slipped from fifth place in 2000 to 19th place in 2012 and are a significant distance from international best practice. The average Australian student is now three years behind students from Shanghai. (ACER 2013)
The Australian economy is dependent on workforce participation and productivity, which in turn is dependent on the quality of our education system. (Commonwealth of Australia Intergenerational Report 2015)
In a country where 75 per cent of fast-growing occupations require science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills, we have great cause for concern. (AIG 2012)
Teach for Australia is dedicated to working in areas of need, helping break the cycle of educational disadvantage and ensuring Australia fulfils its aspiration to be a land of opportunity for all.