Release type: Transcript


FIVEaa with Leon Byner


The Hon Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Education

SUBJECTS: Coronavirus and schools, Year 12 students

Leon Byner: Now, let’s talk to the Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan. Dan, thanks for
joining us today.

Dan Tehan: Pleasure, Leon.

Byner: Now, first of all, there has been some discussion that with all the disruption of the COVID-19 virus, that maybe consideration ought to be given that much of the school year this year should be repeated next year. Is that a likely scenario, or is it something which is going to be up for discussion?

Tehan: Look, it’s highly unlikely. What all education ministers across the country want to see is that all students get through this year of learning, and move on to next year, whether that be if you’re in Year 7 to Year 8, or if you’re in Year 12 moving on to university, vocational education or employment. That is our clear aim that we want to, that we want to achieve.

Byner: So, in the meantime, we’re trying to transition a lot of people, a lot of students, onto online learning. Is the Federal Government offering assistance, or is this something the states have got to do?

Tehan: So, this is something that each state and territory is doing according to their jurisdictional responsibilities. What the Federal Government is trying to do, as best we can, is make sure that we’ve got a national coordinated approach to how states and territories move to term two learning. And, so, that is the role that we are trying to play through Education Council, bringing all state and territory education ministers together. We’re doing that today at one o’clock. We’re meeting again on Thursday to make sure, as best we can for this pandemic, there is a nationally consistent approach.

Byner: Alright. Is it the view of the Federal Government that we will – I know there are lots of parents who’ve made the decision, and some schools indeed have said, ‘Look, we’re going to shut down, but we want to do everything online’ – is there still going to be the option after the school holidays that many schools will remain open?

Tehan: Yes. We want schools to remain open, so that those people who are working or, or vulnerable children, will be able to attend school to get the learning that they need in a safe environment. And, there has been a national commitment through National Cabinet for that, and, that’s something that the Federal Government wants to continue to see.

Byner: Alright. So, your advice to parents who have serious misgivings about their children going to school, even if they’re not necessarily emergency workers. Will, will parents, generally, be able to, if the school is open – because we’ve often talked about those in the sectors where they have to go to work. It’s terribly important that they do, and they’re going to need child care, of course, which, that’s all been announced by the Feds – so, they’re also eligible to send their children to school, without any issue?

Tehan: That’s, that’s what the Federal Government wants to see, and that’s what all states and territories have committed to, to make sure that for those parents who can’t have their children supervised safely at home, they still have the option of being able to attend school. And, we’ve got that committed to through National Cabinet, and we’re going to continue to work with the states and territories to make sure that we continue to offer that to parents, especially those parents who have to work at this time.

Byner: Alright. Dan Tehan, thank you for joining us. That’s the Federal Minister for Education clarifying matters on education. And, as I said, we will keep you well up to date on everything going on, and we’ve had numerous conversations with people all over the place to make sure that the information we’re giving you is spot on, or, indeed, we’re talking to them ourselves.