4211.0 - Education and Training Matters, June 2009  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/06/2009   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All

Welcome to the fifth newsletter of the National Centre for Education and Training Statistics (NCETS) at the Australian Bureau of Statistics. NCETS is pleased to have the opportunity to highlight some recent developments and current NCETS projects.

From the Director's chair
The role of NCETS
Recent developments in education and training statistics
Education and training related publications
Further contact


Since the previous newsletter of December 2008, NCETS has been furthering a wide range of activities in its ongoing work program. NCETS continues to play an advisory role, and provide ongoing technical support, to other bodies such as the Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations, state and territory education departments, and a range of task forces and committees such as MCEETYA's Performance, Measuring and Reporting Taskforce (PMRT), the National Training Statistics Committee and the Productivity Agenda Working Group (PAWG) Data Subgroup. In addition, the National Education and Training Statistics Unit (NETSU) has continued to work and provide advice on data for the COAG education and skills and workforce development performance indicators. In partnership with the Productivity Commission, a template for data quality statements to accompany data provided for the COAG indicators has been developed and distributed to other data providers.

In the last Newsletter we mentioned work starting on the 'Education and Training Data Matrices' project. I am pleased to report that NETSU has now commenced work on the development of Education and Training snapshot articles which have evolved from the matrices project. The snapshots will involve short web-based articles and a small number of accompanying data cubes, intended to provide user-friendly access education and training data. The snapshots will draw information from ABS collections which may not normally be accessed by education data users. Two snapshot articles are planned for release in 2009-10.

The Survey of Education and Work (SEW) was conducted in May 2009 as part of the Labour Force Survey, with the publication Education and Work, Australia, 2009 (cat. no. 6227.0) expected to be released in late November. The sample this year has been reduced by approximately 22% since 2008 due to 2008-09 work program reductions. While this is expected to reduce the accuracy of survey estimates to a small extent, the sample will be restored after increased funding allocations in the 2009-10 budget. For further information, please see Labour Force Survey Sample Design, Nov 2007 (Second edition) (cat. no. 6269.0). A series of detailed SEW spreadsheets (or 'data cubes') have been released based on results from the 2008 SEW with a focus on derived Key Performance Measures (KPMs) of participation, engagement and attainment which are not readily available from the publication. Two more spreadsheets are in the final phase of validation prior to release in July.

In the area of early childhood education, ABS recently released Early childhood learning and care: data sources, gaps and opportunities, 2008 which outlines options for improving access to early childhood care and education data. Processing of the Childhood Education and Care Survey (CEaCS) is also underway, with results expected to be released via the main publication Childhood Education and Care (cat. no. 4402.0) in late July, 2009. The major aims of CEaCS (developed from the ABS Child Care Survey) were to collect data on the use of, and need for, child care and early childhood education for children aged under 13 years. Information will also be available on the use of the Child Care Benefit (CCB) and the income, educational attainment and working arrangements of parents with children aged under 13 years; as well as information on the informal learning activities in which children may participate with parents or other people.

In the last six months, newly released publications by NCETS include the release of the updated Directory of Education and Training Statistics, 2009 (cat. no. 1136.0), which is a guide to the range of available statistical resources relating to education and training in Australia. Schools, Australia, Preliminary 2008 (Cat. No. 4220.0) was released on the 29th of January 2009. It contains some brief text and data, to describe basic state and territory comparisons of numbers of schools, students, staff, and some retention rates and student/teacher ratios. Schools Australia, 2008 (Cat. No. 4221.0) was released 17 March 2009. The schools publication this year includes new measures of student progression through their schooling. The new progression measures are outlined in greater detail in the Research Paper: Deriving Measures of Engagement in Secondary Education from the National Schools Statistical Collection, Dec 2006 (cat. no. 1351.0.55.016).

Links to the above-mentioned collections and our other recent publication work are found below, see Education and training related publications.

The National Education and Training Statistics Unit (NETSU) Management Board met in Melbourne in May 2009. There were presentations on COAG developments and the recent Bradley review on Higher education. The Board also discussed the expansion of the National Schools Statistics Collection, which is further discussed under Australian Learning Statistics Information Base and the current review of NETSU which is being conducted by an independent reviewer between May and July 2009.

You can find out more about recent developments and current NCETS projects in the remainder of this newsletter. We welcome your comments and feedback on any of our publications and reports, and are keen to assist you if you have any questions related to education and training statistics and research.

Justine Boland
National Centre for Education and Training Statistics


The National Centre for Education and Training Statistics (NCETS) is based at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), in Canberra. It has responsibility for:
  • collecting, disseminating, and promoting the use of quality education and training data; and
  • developing and promoting the use of standard concepts, definitions and classifications for education and training statistics.
NCETS is represented on a number of committees and working groups where we provide statistical and technical advice and support on a range of education and training policies and programmes. These include:
  • Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, Performance Measurement and Reporting Taskforce and selected sub-groups;
  • Report on Government Services, School Education Working Group;
  • National Training Statistics Committee and its sub-group, the Technical Reference Group;
  • National Centre for Vocational Education and Training Research, Survey Network Group; and
  • Longitudinal Survey of Australian Youth Steering Committee.
You can find out more about NCETS on the Education and Training Noticeboard, under 'The National Centre for Education and Training Statistics'.


The Early Childhood Education National Data Standards and Protocols Project This project is a consultancy for DEEWR conducted jointly by ABS and AIHW that involves the establishment of a data standards, collection and reporting framework; and the development of standards and definitions to support core data items to assess performance against the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education. NCETS staff are undertaking a review of early childhood education measures, developing data item definitions and articulating data collection requirements. Reports will be provided to DEEWR during June to October 2009.

Survey of Education and Training (SET09) The survey was conducted from March to June 2009, for all persons aged 15-74, and results are expected to be available in March 2010. The survey will provide information on individuals' access to, and experiences in, education, training and learning as well as information on the links between education, training and employment. In consultation with key stakeholders, the most notable changes to the survey since the previous survey in 2005, include:
  • The definitions of learning activities have been aligned with that of the international Classification of Learning Activities;
  • The collection of multiple qualifications has been extended from the three highest (non-school) qualifications to all qualifications;
  • The collection of parental characteristics for 15 to 24 year olds including highest year schooling completed, level/field of education of highest non-school qualification.
Survey of Adult Competencies (SAC) This survey is planned to be conducted in Australia in 2011. Survey results will provide a comparison with previous Australian versions of the survey: the Adult Literacy and Lifes Skills Survey conducted in 2006 and the Survey of Aspects of Literacy conducted in 1996. SAC is a multi-cycle international programme of assessment of adult skills and competencies. Internationally the survey is known as the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC).

International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) A review of ISCED, which was developed by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to facilitate comparisons of education statistics and indicators within and between countries, is underway. An ISCED Technical Advisory Group appointed by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) is drawing up recommendations, which the ABS is contributing to in consultation with DEEWR. The final agreement on the reviewed ISCED is expected to be presented for adoption to the UNESCO general conference in spring 2011.

Australian Learning Statistics Information Base The National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC) will be expanded in several ways in 2009-10. The 2009 NSSC will collect on a trial basis, several new data items on language background, parental occupation and parental education. Pending results of the 2009 feasibility study, data on these items may become available from the 2010 collection.

Secondly, NETSU is in the process of testing the collection of de-identified student unit record data from two jurisdictions and will be contacting other jurisdictions to discuss similar arrangements. This work will also consider the feasibility of longitudinal school data for students and collection of preschool data.

Thirdly, the inventory of student data holdings will be continued, to inform other NSSC expansion activities. The next phase of the inventory will be an assessment of preschool data. All of these activities will involve significant liaison and cooperation with the state and territory departments of education. In recognition of the wider scope of the NSSC expansion program, this will now be referred to as the Australian Learning Statistics Information Base.

These and other recent developments are described in more detail on the Education and Training Noticeboard, under 'What's New' and 'Work in Progress'.


A Picture of the Nation: the Statistician's Report on the 2006 Census, 2006 (cat. no. 2070.0) taps into a rich vein of data collected in the 2006 Census to look at Australia in an exciting new way; providing a detailed insight into our nation's people and culture, and identifying emerging differences and similarities between five age-based generation groups. For example, A Picture of the Nation shows more women than men in Generation X and Y attained a Bachelor Degree or higher (28% compared with 21%), and one in five female Baby Boomers held a bachelor degree or higher qualification. To find out more you can purchase a copy of A Picture of the Nation for $25.00 by phoning 1300 135 070, or alternatively you may download chapters free from the ABS website.

Measures of Australia's Progress: Summary Indicators, 2009(cat. no. 1383.0.55.001), was released 30 April 2009. MAP is an annual publication which provides a concise selection of statistical evidence that will allow Australians to make their own assessment of life in Australia.

Statistics on expenditure on education by the general government sector, are available in Government Finance Statistics, Education, Australia, 2007-08 (cat. no. 5518.0.55.001 ) released 14 April 2009.

For those readers with an interest in statistics about early childhood education, the release of Early childhood learning and care: data sources, gaps and opportunities, 2008on 8 April 2009(cat. no. 4105.0.55.001) describes recommendations made for improving the evidence base for policy development and evaluation through better access to existing information or the creation of new information from existing data sources. This information paper reports on a data mapping pilot project undertaken by the ABS (in collaboration with several other agencies) to investigate the existing range of data sources relevant to identified high priority policy questions in the area of early childhood care and education. It ascertains how these data sources relate to the key information requirements, where gaps exist and what access arrangements are in place.

Australian Social Trends, March 2009(cat. no. 4102.0) was issued 25 March 2009. Readers should note that this publication is now available quarterly (previously an annual publication, 1994 to 2008). Australian Social Trends comprises a series of articles, based on the ABS Wellbeing Framework, 2001 (cat. no. 4160.0), which in the course of a year, cover a wide range of areas of social concern such as: population, family and community, health, education and training, work, economic resources, housing, crime and justice, culture and leisure, environment, religion, transport and communication. The spreadsheets of key education and training statistics is planned for the next issue in June 2009.

Information Paper: ANZSCO -- Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, First Edition, Revision 1, 2009 (cat. no. 1221.0) provides information about the first revision to ANZSCO. This information paper, released on 25 February 2009 also makes available the structure of ANZSCO First Edition Revision 1 to the public, in advance of the full release of ANZSCO First Edition Revision 1 scheduled for July 2009.

A Directory of Education and Training Statistics, 2009 (cat. no. 1136.0) provides information about the range of statistical collections or key statistical publications that have at least some education and training content. The directory provides a summary of the scope, frequency, data items and related products associated with each ABS statistical collection. Similar information and links to relevant web sites pertaining to a number of non-ABS collections, also published in the directory.

The first results of the August 2008 National Schools Statistics Collection were released in Schools, Australia, Preliminary 2008 (cat. no. 4220.0), 29 January 2009. The main publication Schools Australia, 2008 (Reissue) (cat. no. 4221.0) was released 7 May 2009. These results include information about students, school affiliation and staff, and new measures of student progression through their schooling.

The latest data about the educational experience of Australians was released on 26 November 2008, in Education and Work, Australia, 2008 (cat. no. 6227.0). The survey of Education and Work, collected information in May 2008 to describe characteristics of education participation and experience in relation to labour force characteristics. The following data cubes were released in May 2009:
  • Persons with a qualification at AQF Certificate III level or above
  • Persons who are fully engaged in education, training and/or work
  • Persons aged 15-24 engaged in education or training and/or work
  • Persons who have completed Year 12 (or equivalent) or attained at Certificate II Level or Above
  • Persons participating in post school education or training at AQF Certificate III level or above
  • Persons enrolled at educational institutions (all study).

For links to non-ABS sources of education and training statistics please see Other Related Sources of Information, on the Education and Training theme page.

For a more comprehensive listing of recently released ABS publications related to education and training statistics, please see Education and Training Releases on the Education and Training theme page.


Contacting NCETS

The Director: Justine Boland
Email: Justine.Boland@abs.gov.au
Phone: (02) 6252 5936
Fax: (02) 6252 7784
Mobile: 0448 739 581

Postal address:
National Centre for Education and Training Statistics
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Locked Bag 10


Statistical inquiries

The ABS's National Information and Referral Service is the first point of contact for all your statistical and publication enquiries. If you have a written enquiry then please complete an enquiry form from the 'Contact Us' section of the ABS website, and you will receive a response within three working days. Alternatively, NIRS may be contacted by the following means:

Phone: 1300 135 070
Fax: 1300 135 211
Post: Client Services, ABS, GPO Box 796, Sydney 1041
Email: client.services@abs.gov.au

Contacting ABS state and territory Education Statistics Liaison Officers

New South Wales
Ph: (02) 9268 4376
Email: larissa.wharton@abs.gov.au

Ph: (03) 9615 7703
Email: stephanie.kelly@abs.gov.au

Ph: (07) 3222 6068
Email: kris.misztal@abs.gov.au

South Australia
Ph: (08) 8237 7351
Email: kate.hoffmann@abs.gov.au

Western Australia
Ph: (08) 9360 5127
Email: margaret.garner@abs.gov.au

Ph: (03) 6222 5902
Email: helen.marmion@abs.gov.au

Northern Territory
Ph: (08) 8943 2175
Email: john.zammit@abs.gov.au

Australian Capital Territory
Ph: (02) 6252 8924
Email: mariette.oconnell@abs.gov.au