Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Australia: "Standardised Education" across the states.

Even we have standardised education systems in Malaysia.

What happened to the country of Australia? This is a question that I would like to pose to the different education boards across the different states in Australia.


In the context of this blog entry, it means having "standardised testing" where all states in Australia could adopt one standard Key Learning Area for all schools, as well as providing the same respect for teacher qualifications.


I will share with all my experience of what has happened to me in my journey of moving across Queensland to work in New South Wales.

Today, I received in an e-mail from one of my employers that the Department of Community Services in New South Wales has rejected my Queensland childcare qualification as equivalent to the qualification in NSW Education.

I believe it is because the title of my degree does not appear on either Victoria or NSW's approved list of qualifications. Yes, it seems that the state of NSW has such a requirement that only certain teaching qualifications are accepted to be their equal, eventhough it may have come from a qualified and trusted Australian Tertiary Education Provider.


Unfortunately the answer is NO.

From my work experience, I have found that childcare centres in Queenslands employ the same teaching routines and procedures as that in New South Wales. Actually, whether it is within the Australia or New Zealand area perimeters, day-to-day childcare teaching & room schedules, whether it takes place in the nursery, toddler or preschool age group, THEY ARE almost similar.

The only difference is the type of programming (or curriculum planning) that is being used by the group leaders/ ECTs to assess the children's developmental areas.

From my experience as a childcare relief staff these past many months, and having the opportunity to have travelled to both private as well as govt. funded & community centres, this is a fact that I can attest to.


Thankfully, the credential assessment in NSW is FREE. Yeap, job applicants are not charged a dime for completing a NSW Working With Children Check procedure, but is a complimentary service provided by the Dept. and is undertaken by the Employer as part of their responsibilities to screen prospective job applicants.

In the state of Victoria however, it is a requirement for staff who want to find employment in the childcare or education industry to possess Police Check (abt $30). The Victoria Working With Children Check (abt $71). The advantage about both is that once procured, it keeps processing time to a minimum for the applicants being that they are transferable in the employment process, and hence only references checking is required.

I really don't understand why the state of Victoria have to be the only state that makes it a necessity to have a Police Check when the others don't. Who died & made Victoria lord over all the others, when the others didn't have to, eh??

The staff who have only studied and worked in Victoria all this while will not be aware of requirements in other states. This was brought to light after having an audience with a friend of mine who has incidentally been in Victoria for over 4 years. She showed much surprise when I told her that the other states had no such requirements!

It is really beyond my understanding why the country of Australia is unable to "standardise" each state's department of education to provide a standard form testing for the education system. It is understandable if teachers hold a foreign qualification, which would deem the situation to be acceptable to have the foreign teaching credential to be assessed for its equivalency to Australia's standards.


It's ironic however, that my Queensland qualification is accepted in every other country, but not in a different state within Australia. Granted, Australia IS a huge mass expanse, but people live far and between in sporadic spots here & there.


Actually, there were some complaints from my Australian lecturers when I was at uni. One of them incidentally remarked that the area of New York has probably far more people in that state than the entire of Australia put together, and they only required ONE STANDARD Education System (Testing) . The money could be put to better use like medical research instead of producing so many different types of education syllabuses. Perhaps the govt. wants to provide employment in such a redundant way?


As I have looked through the education syllabuses, I have found that these KLAs technically and essentially are almost the same in principle, but the time & costs required to publish different sets for each state is time consuming and a waste of resources in my opinion.

This really questions the need of having to assess qualifications for teachers who want transfer inter-state is really a time consuming & costly affair.

Basically I have worked my bottom off so hard for over four years only to know that I now have to spend another $66 dollars just to get my AUSTRALIAN Qualification assessed just because its title doesn't appear on the list of approved qualifications (which they should continually update on a yearly basis so that it cost us applicants less trouble). I would be able to procure six nice pair of collar shirts for myself with that amount, I reckon.

Anyways, a further notice to all aspiring candidates (especially those coming from UK or Malaysia), this is to inform all that just because an individual holds an International Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy doesn't immediately entitle them to work as a qualified childcare worker in Australia. In fact you'd still go under the category of untrained staff until you had your credentials assessed to Australian standards (which you will have to fork out more of the dough *again*).

In fact in most states, if you do not hold a 4 yr teaching degree, you are not legally allowed to practise to be a teacher until the candidate gets prior approval from the state's teacher registry.

Anyways, some good news. I scored an overall grade of band 8 for my Academic format IELTS. Isn't that great news? I've been praying about it and it was thoroughly happy when I got my results. I was only hoping to get 6, but an overall band of 8 is more than I expected!!


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