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Helping Financially Disadvantaged Children Achieve Success.

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Education has a massive impact on future employment and life opportunities, but children that live in financially disadvantaged households are on average 2-3 years behind in reading and writing by the age of 15.

Someone is classified as living in poverty when their basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter, are not being met. Today, there are more than 1.1 million Australian children and young people are living in poverty today, as well as 662,100 children living in jobless families in Australia today. Children that live in these financially disadvantaged households are on average 2-3 years behind in reading and writing by the age of 15. The Victorian Auditor-General’s Report stated that "Education attainment is an important predictor of future employment, welfare and health prospects – and it improves [a person’s] ability to contribute socially and economically in the community."

 Victorian state primary schools currently have no obligation to provide financial support to these children, because of a severe deficiency in government funding. The Victorian Government spends less than any other Australian state on education, giving our state schools no leeway to provide essential uniform, school supplies as well as cover the cost of any excursions and school camps. Our state primary schools need a program that provides these basic needs, so that disadvantaged children can begin their schooling without being handicapped.

 Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that ‘Everyone has the right to education.’  It also states that ‘higher education shall be equally accessible to all.’ The second clause states that ‘Education shall be directed to the full development of human personality, and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.’ Education and development are basic human rights, so why are some children being denied these because of their position in life?

 In the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child, article 28 states that, ‘Children have the right to an education. Discipline in schools should respect children’s human dignity. Primary education should be free.’- Meaning that there should be no costs for a primary education. This convention also states in article 29 that, ‘Education should develop each child’s personality and talents to the full.’- This means that education should include extra curricula activities to develop a wide range of skills for the child, but this should not be limited to the ones that the child’s parents or guardians can afford. 

 Through this petition, the aim is to address The Hon. James Merlino, the Victorian Minister of Education, to set aside funding for programs in Victorian Public Primary schools, that provide books and stationary to financially disadvantaged children, as well as helping to provide uniforms so that they don’t start out, already not fitting in. This funding would also go towards helping to cover the costs of excursions and camps so that the child is not missing out on the vital areas of primary school. This also directly relates to article 29 of the United Nations convention on the Rights of a Child.

 

Sources: 

2017. A simplified version of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. [online] UNICEF. Available at: <https://www.unicef.org.au/Upload/UNICEF/Media/Our%20work/childfriendlycrc.pdf> [Accessed 22 Mar. 2017].

 2017. Factsheet on socio-economic disadvantage and educational opportunity. [online] Mitchellinstitute.org.au. Available at: <http://www.mitchellinstitute.org.au/fact-sheets/socio-economic-disadvantage-and-educational-opportunity-persistently-linked/> [Accessed 22 Mar. 2017].

2017. Financially disadvantaged and vulnerable criteria - Financial Counselling Program - Consumer Affairs Victoria. [online] Consumer Affairs Victoria. Available at: <https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/clubs-and-not-for-profits/grants/financial-counselling-program/service-delivery-model-induction-tool/practice-elements/financially-disadvantaged-and-vulnerable-criteria> [Accessed 22 Mar. 2017].

2017. Homelessness. [online] Education.vic.gov.au. Available at: <http://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/students/support/Pages/homelessness.aspx> [Accessed 22 Mar. 2017].

2017. Poverty Definition. [online] BusinessDictionary.com. Available at: <http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/poverty.html> [Accessed 27 Mar. 2017].

 2017. Poverty in Australia | 1.1m Australian Children Living In Poverty. [online] The Smith Family. Available at: <https://www.thesmithfamily.com.au/poverty-in-australia> [Accessed 22 Mar. 2017].

 2017. Universal Declaration of Human Rights | United Nations. [online] Un.org. Available at: <http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/> [Accessed 22 Mar. 2017].

'ACOSS Report: 'Disturbing' data reveals 730,000 Australian children living below poverty line', ABC Premium News



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