Volume Nine 2011 focus on Education and Communities

The Auditor-General, Mr Peter Achterstraat, today released his Volume Nine Report to Parliament for 2011. The report includes comments on financial audits of government agencies in the Education and Communities sectors.

Major IT project deferred (pgs 44 & 45)

A major IT project to replace finance, human resources and payroll systems at the Department of Education has been deferred and has failed to provide the expected benefits.  At this stage, none of the systems have been deployed in the State’s 2,230 schools.

The project has already cost $176 million, nearly half of the total estimated project cost of $386 million.

‘I am concerned that another large Government IT project is failing to deliver, is over budget and is behind schedule’, Mr Achterstraat said.

Lack of young teachers in our schools (pgs 56 & 57)

In 1986, more than half of Australian teachers were under 35.

‘In NSW, around 20 per cent of public school teachers are now under 35 and I am concerned that less than 10 per cent are under 30’, Mr Achterstraat said. ‘We need to do more to attract and retain young teachers to a profession that is essential for our children and our future prosperity’, he added.

Retention rates at NSW public schools gradually improving but still the lowest of any State (pgs 48 & 49)

New South Wales’ Year 12 retention rates are improving but are nearly five per cent below the national average and the lowest of any State. Sixty–eight per cent of New South Wales public school students complete year 12, while the national average is 73 per cent.

‘Year 12 retention rates for aboriginal students remain low at 35 per cent’, Mr Achterstraat said. ‘While this is an improvement on 2006 levels of nearly 29 per cent, it is still a concerning figure’, he added.

More Community Services caseworkers (pg 69)

‘Last year, I recommended the Department of Family and Community Services make concerted efforts to fill vacant Community Services caseworker positions. It is pleasing that the number of vacant caseworker positions has fallen significantly from 497 in 2009-10 to 166 in 2010-11’, Mr Achterstraat said.

Costs down and enrolments are up at TAFE (p 61)

TAFE services are being delivered more cost effectively and enrolments have increased by nearly 12 per cent.

‘A highlight for TAFE enrolments has been a more than 50 per cent increase in aboriginal student enrolments since 2006’, Mr Achterstraat said. ‘Qualifications provide better employment outcomes for students and add skills to the workplace’, he added.

Further information

Contact Barry Underwood on 02 9275 7220 or 0403 073 664, or email barry.underwood@audit.nsw.gov.au