Private/public technical school to be trialled in Geelong

Geelong has
been named as the site of a federal government pilot program linking a high
school with private business.

The pilot
program was announced, as predicted, in the government’s competitiveness agenda on Tuesday. The Australian Financial Review reported that the location would be
in a “socially disadvantaged area close to industry”
ahead of the announcement.

Yesterday
Geelong was named as the location for the program by education minister Chris
Pyne.

“We could have McDonalds or IBM or BHP Billiton
or Iluka or Santos or manufacturing businesses involved in their local schools,” Pyne told the ABC.

“It’s an integrated six-year program, so a
student completes with both a high school diploma, and a college degree, an
associate’s degree, in either applied science, computer science or
engineering,” Stanley
Litow, vice president of IBM, told the ABC.

The program
is hoped to create graduates from schools that are more workforce-ready, and
was inspired by what prime minister Tony Abbott saw during a visit to a New York school sponsored by IBM under the US
Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program.

“You have businesses such as IBM
which are sponsoring these schools, putting in a bit of money, but putting in a
lot of expertise and generally mentoring and helping the students there,” Abbott said yesterday, according to AAP.

“We think this model has
potential applicability to Australia and why not start the first of them in
Geelong?”

Pyne said
that any corporate funding of schools would be on top of government funding and
would not replace it.

Image: http://christinavasilevski.com/