More are completing school, yet the gap keeps widening – See more at:

MORE young people are finishing Year 12, and more are studying full-time after leaving school, but the proportion of 17- to 24-year-olds with a full-time job has fallen over the past five years.

A report on Australia’s educational performance by the COAG Reform Council, released today, says one in four young people are not fully occupied in either study, work or a combination of the two.

The report charts mixed progress, with rising attendance in preschool, improvements in reading and numeracy in primary school, and more students finishing Year 12, but attendance rates are falling, literacy and numeracy scores have stagnated among high school students, and the gap in achievement between young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and their affluent peers is widening.Discount Nfl Jerseys

GRAPHIC: Learning or earning

When teenagers leave school, a growing number of them study full time but the rise is not enough to overcome the fall in young people working full time.

Almost one in three 17 to 24-year-olds were studying full time in 2011, up 3.4 percentage points from 2006, but the proportion working full time fell almost five points, from 41.2 per cent to 36.3 per cent.

The situation was worse among disadvantaged students, with almost 42 per cent not engaged in full-time work and/or study and the rate rises to 61 per cent among indigenous students. In comparison, only 17 per cent of the most advantaged students were not working or studying full time. The gap between the most and least disadvantaged students was the widest it has been since 2006.

A companion report on vocational education found more Australians were training but fewer were reaping the benefits. The proportion of working-aged people with post-school qualifications increased six percentage points in the five years to 2011, but the proportion with improved employment status after they trained fell by five percentage points.Cheap Nfl Jerseys From China

The global financial crisis, the trend for part-time and casual positions to replace full-time jobs and the isolation of rural and disadvantaged communities are some of the reasons suggested for the fall in full-time work.

The council’s deputy chairman, Greg Craven, said even a small fall in full-time work was significant, but some of the early education strategies were starting to pay off in primary school results.

“One of the key determinants is level of education of parents, so there’s reason to think if things are going up at the start of school and there’s significant improvement at the end of school, you may well see the start of a measured gradual improvement in the middle.”

Emma Camilleri, 19, grew up in Broken Hill in far western NSW and finished Year 12 with the support of her parents, and a scholarship from The Smith Family that covers her education costs.

In her first year studying for a bachelor of health sciences at Adelaide University, she is the first in her family to pursue university study and wants to be a physiotherapist. “I knew I never wanted just a casual job in Broken Hill — there’s no job security in a small town and it’s not well paid enough,” she said.

“I wanted to make something of myself and my family always said do what you want, we will help you.”

The Smith Family chief executive Lisa O’Brien said people in disadvantaged and rural communities often felt disconnected and isolated from opportunities. “Having a conversation with someone about what careers are possible, especially when no one at home has a career . . . is fantastic,” she said.

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