Receiving a public education spells success in university

PRIVATE schools may see higher results at graduation, but receiving a public education spells success in university, says Dr Jenny Chesters.

The tertiary education expert from the University of Canberra told The Morning Bulletin students from independent schools did not perform as well as students from government schools in their first year of university.

"I found that type of school attended had no affect on employment status or weekly earnings; parents' education was the strongest predictor of completing Year 12 and of graduating from university," she said.

The Research Fellow said children with highly educated parents had higher scores on standardised tests, and this factor was far more influential to educational achievement than the type of school a child attended.

She said independent schools had the option to select students, thereby widening the gap.

"They tend to enrol students with highly educated parents. It's a cycle whereby advantage is reinforced," she said.

"If independent schools and government schools enrolled similar proportions of children that did not have university-educated parents then there would be no difference between the average scores of independent and government schools."

Dr Chesters said, like the 2011 Gonski Review suggests, that providing government schools with extra funding to overcome the disadvantage of higher proportions of students with low-educated parents would narrow the gap between public and private schools.



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