Corporate sponsorship of schools growing
By Heidi Pegrem
SYDNEY — A report presented to the national conference of the Australian Education Union on January 20 revealed that corporate sponsorship of schools is expanding in all states, "virtually unmonitored and unregulated".
Insufficient government funding has forced schools to seek out, and compete for, corporate sponsors. This has led to growing inequalities between schools.
The report, by a University of New South Wales researcher, Jane Coulter, found large sections of the school curriculum were being privatised. Coulter said that the contracting out of education services was often more costly. In some instances, education departments were paying $6000 a day for consultants and up to $300 an hour for academics to conduct training previously undertaken by employees.
Coulter was quoted as saying, "The term privatisation does not capture what is happening to state education — it is really more deregulation by the government's withdrawal from provision of services".
John Hughes of the NSW Teachers Federation told Green Left Weekly that students who go to sponsored schools will receive a better education and have access to more resources than those who do not. "Schools are not eager for sponsorship; schools are desperate for dollars and they're being forced to get it wherever they can".