As Youth Week activities take place across Australia, Save the Children is renewing its call for all sides of politics to commit to funding an education program widely lauded for its success in keeping at-risk young people engaged in school.
Save the Children Director of Policy Mat Tinkler said funding its Hands on Learning program – aimed primarily at students aged 9 to 14 years - would be a critical investment in the futures of young people throughout Australia.
“The Hands on Learning program has an outstanding record in addressing an issue of national significance – the disengagement of a large group of children from education. Youth Week, when much of the nation celebrates the importance and value of our young people, would be a fitting time for our political leaders to step up and make a tangible commitment to their futures,” Mr Tinkler said.
“The program has to be scaled up if we’re to fully realise its benefits. A $10 million federal funding commitment would allow the program to triple its reach throughout the country, enabling it to replicate this success on a national scale.
“The strong links between disengagement during the middle years of school and disadvantage in adult life makes it critical that this issue be addressed. This disadvantage has social and economic ramifications on a national level.”
The practical and school-based program has had extraordinary success at engaging those students at real risk of dropping out. Over 20 years it has grown to reach more than 100 schools in four states (Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania), due mainly to philanthropy and school support.
A 2012 study by Deloitte Access economics showed a $12 return for every dollar invested in Hands on Learning.
“We remain hopeful that with a federal election looming, all sides of politics will show the necessary foresight and invest in the futures of this sizeable cohort of young people,” Mr Tinkler said.
The program has received the emphatic support of parents, students, teachers and sector experts.
Click here for the Hands on Learning: Future Directions report. Includes full parental survey results and parent testimonials
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