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Education funding must focus on the greatest needs and invest in teachers and evidence based interventions that work, said the University of Melbourne’s Dean of Education, Professor Field Rickards.

A University of Melbourne survey funded by VicHealth has found one in five primary and high school students said they were daily targets of racism at school.

NAPLAN is having the unintended side-effect of narrowing teaching strategies and the curriculum, according to the first national study into its impact.

An 87 year-old former University of Melbourne education student has collected an award for academic excellence – 64 years after graduating.

Professor Lyn Yates says funding for school buildings and facilities will help improve student morale and retention rates.

In today’s state budget, the Victorian Government has allocated $402 million toward the rebuilding and renovation of 113 state government schools across the state. These funds will be combined with the Federal government’s allocation of $686 million for Victorian schools’ infrastructure projects.

Professor Yates said receiving such a large amount of funding from the Federal government in such dire financial times was an encouraging sign that the Government was taking investment in education seriously and that the funding will do a lot more than simply make things look “shiny and new.”

“Teachers, students and parents really get a sense of whether or not they are valued in an institution if it is shiny and new, we should never underestimate the morale and valuing aspect of improvements of infrastructure,” she says. 

Professor Yates predicted these improvements could increase retention rates, with students actually enjoying their surroundings and deciding to stay on till year 12. Professor Yates also said she hoped this funding will begin to close the disparity between rich and poor schools by “at least making the base level something people will feel happy about.”

Professor Lyn Yates is Professor of Curriculum in the Graduate School of Education.

Dr Sam Wylie says that IMF predictions of a growth phase in the world economy in 2010 are off the mark, and says Australia should expect a long but shallow recession. 

"The financial crisis is going to take between $40-$60 billion out of Government revenues.  We should expect to see big defecits in Australia, with total government debt around $200 billion at the end of 2012, where at the moment its about $50 billion."