Disadvantaged Kids Need Teachers, Schools to Remain Open: Australian PM

By Victoria Kelly-Clark
Victoria Kelly-Clark
Victoria Kelly-Clark
Victoria Kelly-Clark is an Australian based reporter who focuses on national politics and the geopolitical environment in the Asia-pacific region, the Middle East and Central Asia.
April 15, 2020Updated: April 30, 2020

Prime Minister Scott Morrison took to social media on April 15 to express concern that many children who learn remotely from home will miss out on a proper education because their parents don’t have the capacity to facilitate their learning the way teachers can in the classroom.

“It’s so important that children are able to keep physically going to school, particularly for [vulnerable] kids,” he said.

A teachers union leader said the prime minister’s message is in contrast to what state governments—who run schools—told parents and teachers on Apil 13, which is to learn from home.

For his part, Morrison said disadvantaged kids are at the most risk and he does not want a year of a child’s education to be one of the things Australia loses in efforts to fight the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.

“It is essential for those vulnerable kids who we know won’t get an education at home,” said Morrison.

Message to teachers

Thank you to all our heroes on the frontline of our fight against the coronavirus, but especially our teachers. You do an incredible job educating our kids. During these tough times, your role has never been more important.

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Scott Morrison (ScoMo)‎‏ في الثلاثاء، ١٤ أبريل ٢٠٢٠

Australian kids are returning to school for Term 2 with the majority of states delivering lessons online.

State leaders have encouraged parents to keep their kids at home if possible reserving on-campus lessons for the children of essential workers and those classed as vulnerable.

Queensland and Victoria will provide computers, other devices, and SIM cards to help disadvantaged students overcome obstacles to learning.

The prime minister said not every parent can stay at home to facilitate their kid’s learning and that parents shouldn’t be put in a position to decide between putting food on the table and enabling their kids to receive an education.

He said he was thankful for the teaching sector, but noted that teachers were also vulnerable to infection and said steps must be taken to mitigate risks.

Teachers’ unions have been critical of the federal government’s approach to education during the crisis caused by the CCP virus.

In a comment published on April 15, the president of the Queensland Teachers Union, Kevin Bates, said that the prime minister was risking the lives of the people he was praising—teachers.

Bates said it was wonderful to be acknowledged by the prime minister as the “essential community lynchpin we know we are” but said Morrison had essentially told parents to ignore the directions from the state governments that are responsible for running the schools in their states.

Remote Learning

Education departments around Australia have risen to the challenge of remote learning during the CCP virus with teachers learning and developing online resources aiming to ensure that no student is left behind.

President of the New South Wales Teachers Federation said on Twitter on March 27 that no students in New South Wales (Australia’s most populated state) will be left without a learning plan.

Queensland has reportedly been developing online learning resources that will be utilized across Australia in the coming months.

National public broadcaster the ABC,  has programmed educational content to aid teachers and parents. The programs go to air from 10 a.m. each weekday; the broadcaster hopes to engage children around the country in learning.