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School drop–outs cost the community

The report by Mitchell Institute at Victoria University finds large numbers of young Australians are not succeeding in education and training, and it’s costing taxpayers billions of dollars each year.

The findings reveal one in eight Australians will never attain a Year 12 qualification, and some of these people make up the one in eight Australians who will be disengaged from the workforce for most of their lives.

Victoria University’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof Peter Dawkins said when young people aren’t supported to find success later in life it leads to enormous costs for everyone.

“When we fail to set young people up for success, they are not the only ones affected – the impact stretches to all corners of society,” Dawkins explained.

There are problems in key areas of education that lead to more adults entering a life of crime, clogging public health services and relying on government support payments to get by. This also means people pay less taxes and make less of an overall contribution to our economy and communities.

For taxpayers, having 38,000 people aged 19 who will never achieve Year 12 or equivalent costs $315 million each year, and more than $12 billion over a lifetime. Having 46,000 people aged 24 who will be disengaged for most of their lives costs taxpayers $472 million each year, and almost $19 billion over a lifetime.

From the social perspective, the group of early school leavers costs governments and communities more than $580 million annually and more than $23 billion over a lifetime. The figures are even larger for the disengaged 24 year olds – $1.2 billion each year and more than $50 billion over a lifetime.

Dawkins believes governments need to prioritise system changes to ensure all Australians have equal education opportunities. And industry leaders, educators and communities should help drive change.

“Universities and training institutes can be part of the solution by partnering with employers, understanding community needs and providing better opportunities for more young people to gain the skills and knowledge they need to find success," Dawkins suggests. Source


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