Ballarat’s early school leavers are costing the country $62 million based on figures in a new report into youth disengagement.
A report by Victoria Institute’s Mitchell Institute has for the first time put a price on so-called early leavers – Australians who leave school early and never attain a year 12 qualification.
Highlands LLEN said the report – Counting the costs of lost opportunity in Australian education – would allow for services to better advocate for early intervention funding.
The report estimated disengaged young people cost taxpayers $411,700 over their lifetime, amounting to $18.8 billion nationally in fiscal and social costs.
“If we can understand the economic burden of young people never achieving year 12 equivalent then we can greater understand and advocate for investment in supporting young people to engage in learning,” education engagement co-ordinator Asha Buckmaster said.
Just because a young person struggles in a mainstream school it doesn’t mean they don’t have the capacity or desire to learn.Highlands LLEN's Asha Buckmaster
“If we increase the figure that is allocated to schools per student, then maybe we can have an impact in terms of keeping young people engaged in learning and not having an impact on the economy later on.”
Currently Ballarat has 580 young people in flexible learning programs aimed at keeping keeping them engaged in learning.
Figures from 2014 showed 75.5 per cent of Ballarat young people had attained year 12 or equivalent by age 19, compared to a state average of 88.2 per cent.
“Just because a young person struggles in a mainstream school it doesn’t mean they don’t have the capacity or desire to learn,” Ms Buckmore said.