In a landmark case, a federal judge ruled Australia’s flagship brain-drain programme was unconstitutional because it disproportionately favoured lower-income students and the disabled.
Key points:The court ruling, which will give the government until the end of the month to implement the policy, will give it time to improve the system for disadvantaged studentsThe court’s ruling comes after a review of the program was commissioned by the governmentThe court said the policy was aimed at helping students with a learning disability and that “no person has a right to be excluded from participation in the Commonwealth’s public education system”Key pointsThe decision comes after the federal government commissioned a review into the programThe court ruled that “there was no evidence that the program is providing a substantial benefit to the majority of eligible students with disabilities”It found the program “had no justification” for providing a particular benefit to students who were “most likely to benefit from it”The court found that the government’s flagship program, the Brain Drain, was unconstitutional on its face because it favoured “those students most likely to be disadvantaged”.
The court ordered the government to implement a “provision for the provision of assistance to disadvantaged students” and “a reasonable measure of financial compensation to disadvantaged persons”.
“The Government has complied with the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act in relation to the review,” the Federal Court said in its decision.
The government has until the beginning of the year to implement any of the reforms.
The case comes after an independent review of Australia’s public-education system was commissioned.
The review found the Brain Drop was “not effective” in addressing the “challenges” of disadvantaged students.
The federal government was unable to show that the policy “was effective in helping disadvantaged students”.
The review also noted the program did not address “the barriers to participation” in Australian universities and the high number of students with learning disabilities in the program.
It recommended the government “should consider a change to the policy and/or to the program in a manner that maximises the benefit to disadvantaged and disadvantaged students, and maximises participation by the community in the education system”.
Topics:education,government-and-politics,education-policy,public-sector,law-crime-and/or-justice,law,education,federal—state-issues,education—australia,canberra-2600,act,york-2610First posted September 18, 2019 17:36:24Contact Adam RimmerMore stories from New South Wales