Center on International Education Benchmarking

1. Quebec Announces Post Pandemic Plan for Schools, Including Tutoring and Testing

Education Minister Jean Francois Roberge announced a CAN$100 million (US$83 million) investment in schools as part of the province’s post pandemic stimulus plan. It includes CAN$60 million (US$49 million) for tutoring for students who are behind as well as CAN$6 million (US$5 million) for field trips and summer camps. Roberge also said that provincial exams will be held next year for both primary and secondary school students. The weighting of the exams will change, however, so that final exams count for less. Exams for secondary school students will count for 20 rather than 50 percent of school grades. Parents will receive mid-year reports so that they are informed about their childrens’ progress. For more, see Global News.

Quebec Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge
Quebec Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge

2. Australia’s 2021-22 Budget Invests in Preschool and Vocational Skills Training

Josh Frydenberg, Australia’s Federal Treasurer
Josh Frydenberg, Australia’s Federal Treasurer

Josh Frydenberg, Australia’s Federal Treasurer, announced new investments in early childhood education and vocational education as part of the nation’s 2021-22 budget. The budget includes AUD $1.7 billion (USD $1.3 billion) to expand child care subsidies for families and AUD $1.6 billion (USD $1.24 billion) to extend universal access to 15 hours of high-quality preschool each week for four-year-old children over the next four years. Preschool funding is conditional on a “robust reform timeline” and will tie payments to attendance targets. The JobTrainer youth employment program, which helps low-income students transition into the workforce, will receive an additional AUD $481.2 million (USD $371.6 million) to support expansion and reform efforts. States and territories will match this funding allowing for an additional 163,000 students to participate in highly-subsidized skills training. See the full budget proposal on the government’s website, read more about the preschool components of the budget at The Guardian, and learn about the government’s investment in skills training at AFR.

3. Singapore Makes Extra Contributions to Education Savings Accounts

To help families facing economic hardships as a result of the pandemic, Singapore’s government recently announced that students between the ages of seven and 20 will receive a one-time deposit of S$200 (US$150) to their Edusave or Post Secondary Education Account (PSEA) by the end of May.  All children in Singapore are given an education savings account called Edusave when they are born, and they begin receiving annual contributions once they reach age seven to help cover the cost of education-related expenses. Primary school students receive S$230 (US$172) a year and secondary students receive S$290 (US$217) a year. In addition, the government gives every child an interest-bearing Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA) to encourage college savings. These funds can be used to cover expenses such as school fees, enrichment activities, or personal learning devices. In addition, in September, children ages six and under will receive a one-time S$200 deposit to their Child Development Accounts (CDA) to help families pay for educational and healthcare expenses. A total of about 780,000 young Singaporeans are expected to benefit from these additional funds. Read more in Channel News Asia.

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4. England’s Education Recovery Plan May Include Longer School Day, More Tutoring

Sir Kevan Collins, England's Education Recovery Commissioner
Sir Kevan Collins, England's Education Recovery Commissioner

England’s education recovery plan is likely to include a longer school day, extending the new National Tutoring Program, and improving teacher quality through extra training. Sir Kevan Collins, newly appointed education recovery commissioner, has not yet announced the full plan for long-term recovery post coronavirus. However, Collins is considering a plan that will start with a longer school day, at least for secondary students. The extra time would be used for tailored academics as well as extracurriculars, with community groups being invited into schools to help support these programs. Additionally, the new National Tutoring Program (NTP) could be made permanent. At present, schools can only access subsidized tutoring via a list of providers approved by the NTP, leading to complaints from head teachers that not enough students are able to access the extra help they need. Collins may recommend allowing schools to choose tutors, requiring candidates to be accredited to make sure they have the skills to deliver catch-up tutoring. Read more at iNews.