Can we make our kids smarter?

May 1, 2012


Pam Cahir talks about the biggest improvements to early childhood education in 25 years.

More Australian babies and toddlers are in childcare than ever before. And they’re there when their brains are laying down the pathways vital for later learning, intelligence and social capability.

Pam Cahir, the CEO from Early Childhood Australia, tells 3Q how new national reforms are ensuring childcare centres provide a nurturing environment that will ultimately have a long-term beneficial effect on the society of the future.

Critics of the Government’s plan say the changes will cost up to $27 a day more in childcare. But Pam Cahir says they are exaggerating the price increases, which she estimates to be closer to $5 a day.

The ECA believes the small price increase is warranted to ensure the long-term goals of the reform agenda are met.

Are we dumbing down our universities?

May 1, 2012


Matt McGowan explains why opening up university places is admirable but will fail unless it is matched with better funding.

This year almost 90 per cent of school leavers who applied to go to university got a place. That’s because the government removed the caps on university enrolments to create more opportunities for those from lower socio-economic groups.

But Matt McGowan from the National Tertiary Education Union tells 3Q that academics are already suffering with the swelling numbers of foreign fee paying students. With this new influx – which brings in much less funding capital – the pressures on the system will be magnified.

He talks about the NTEU’s campaign Invest in Universities calling for a fix to the problem.

Do public health campaigns work?

May 1, 2012


Dr Brian Owler gives his reasons for fronting a road safety campaign and the next issues in his sights.

The AIDS awareness campaign was the first graphic public health campaign of its kind — the Grim Reaper playing ten pin bowling with children, parents and old people.

Since then there’s been dozens more, targeting everything from anti-smoking to domestic violence. Associate professor Brian Owler is the face of the RTA’s “Choose Wisely” campaign.

He rejects the suggestion that these ads constitute a “nanny state” agenda and tells 3Q why more needs to be done on issues like building and pool safety in order to protect children.