2 Million Australian Students Missing Out, Study Finds

April 28, 2020 Updated: April 29, 2020

More than 2 million Australian students will fall behind in their studies due to obstacles to remote learning, according to a University of Tasmania (UTAS) study.

Published by UTAS’s Peter Underwood Centre, the study (pdf)—one of five commissioned by the federal education department—said that children and young people are experiencing a “learning loss over the period of learning at home.”

The research indicated that an estimated 46 percent of all school students will fall behind, and some will find it hard to recover. 

Holly Fleming is a high school student from Canberra currently in year 11. She told The Epoch Times on April 28 that remote learning is difficult because her coursework involves a lot of practical components. 

“I think it will affect my overall end result in a negative way,” she said.

Study Classes Half of Australia’s Students as Vulnerable

All five studies released indicated that of Australia’s nearly 4.3 million students, roughly half should be classed as vulnerable, and would suffer from the switch to remote learning.

Included among the vulnerable students were those who lived in poverty, those with a disability or additional learning needs, students in rural or remote parts of Australia, and those who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Each study also noted that students without internet access were the most vulnerable of these groups.

According to a Curtain University commissioned paper (pdf), 621,800 households in Australia do not have a laptop or desktop computer, making learning online very difficult for students in this group.

School students around Australia have recently returned for term 2 of the academic school year. Due to social distancing measures in most Australian states and territories, students are using remote learning tools to keep up with their education.

Federal education minister Dan Tehan said in an interview on The Morning Show on April 27 that “the hope of the Federal Government is, that we’ll see all schools resuming that teaching from the classroom by the end of May.”

He said that the federal government wanted to get schools back to five days a week. “If we don’t get all our children back to school and get that face-to-face teaching happening” it would be the most disadvantaged in our community that suffers the most, he said.

“And, we’ll see the education divide grow if we’re not careful.” he continued.