Axed program lifted college enrolments

Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff

Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff

PATHWAY planner figures reveal the government is axing a program that helped to enrol 86 per cent of last year's state school grade 10 cohort into college.

Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff described pathway planners in 2009 as an "extremely important part of high schools" yet has cut the Guaranteeing Futures program and 59 jobs, to save $3 million.

Figures reliably sourced by The Examiner reveal that out of last year's 4250 students in year 10, pathway planners helped get 86 per cent enrolled into college.

A further 8 per cent of students were found to be in further training, apprenticeships or employment, or were officially exempted by medical reasons, 1.5 per cent could not be accounted for, and just 0.6 per cent were registered as unemployed.

It was part of the pathway planners' and youth officers' roles to find, contact and account for every single student after they completed year 10, and in this process they helped to redirect up to 100 students into college last year.

The cost of the program works out to be around $800 a student.

Parents, unions, industry groups, former students, and those involved in the development of pathway planners are angered by the loss of the program, which through continual development since 2005 has steadily increased student retention in schools.

Labor education spokeswoman Michelle O'Byrne is calling on Mr Rockliff to reinstate pathway planners and reverse his "misguided cut".

The government will instead fund the Beacon Foundation for $125,000 for the next four years.

State Growth Minister Matthew Groom said Beacon worked with students to ensure retention, or to place them in further training or employment with a network of business and industry partners.

Mr Rockliff denied that Beacon replaces pathway planners.

"My Education is the program announced through the state budget that will supersede Guaranteeing Futures," he said. "It ensures students are thinking about their future and their educational choices right throughout their school life."

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