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No evidence of hurry to follow Gonski advice on research body

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02.12.2019

OPINION

The Commonwealth received the Gonski Review to Achieve Education Excellence in Australian Schools in April 2018 and accepted one of its key recommendations to establish an "evidence institute" to "coordinate the strategic development of national research and evidence ... to improve student outcomes."

The Gonski review advised creating a body to coordinate research into education. Picture: Getty Images

Eighteen months later, we are still waiting for details.

Despite the "evidence institute" enjoying bipartisan support and being included in the National School Reform Agreement signed by all states and territories and operational since the beginning of this year, nothing has happened.

We still do not know exactly what the institute will do, who will run it, its governance, whether it is a wholly Commonwealth body or one of those bureaucratic federal-state ones. Nor do we have any idea of its budget, who pays what and for how long. Nor how any of its proposals will make it to the classroom.

What has the Commonwealth and its Department of Education been doing?

The sole observable action appears to be what can only be described as a furtive review established in August to "identify options for, and make recommendations on, the most effective and efficient institutional and governance arrangements which will support implementation of the eight national policy initiatives in the National School Reform Agreement" - one of which as highlighted, includes, "an independent national evidence institute".

The crucial question is exactly where will the new "evidence institute" fit into existing "national architecture for schooling in Australia" and its functions?

That architecture currently involves the joint federal-state Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, the wholly-owned Commonwealth Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership and the........

© Canberra Times