4211.0 - Education and Training Matters (Newsletter), Jun 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/06/2007  First Issue
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Welcome to the first newsletter of the National Centre for Education and Training Statistics (NCETS) at the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The newsletter, which we aim to release twice yearly, will highlight developments in education and training statistics and inform readers of NCETS work in progress.

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


I have led the team at NCETS over the past 18 months, having joined the ABS after having worked in a variety of roles in the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) and the university and school sectors. In my time here, I have been impressed by the dedication of the NCETS team and their preparedness to work to improve the quality of information available related to education and training statistics.

Apart from having responsibility for the education content of several ABS surveys and publications, NCETS regularly provides statistical and survey advice to a range of stakeholders, publishes research and information papers, provides advice on the development and implementation of education standards, and conducts training on the use of education and training statistics. NCETS staff have recently presented research papers at various conferences, including:

  • the Australian Association of Gerontology National Conference;
  • the Australian Council of Adult Literacy;
  • the National Industry Career Specialists Conference;
  • the Australian Curriculum Assessment Certification Authorities; and
  • the ABS Census Analysis 2006 Conference.

In order to demonstrate their diverse range of skills and capacity to have fun, NCETS staff have also delivered careers and statistics presentations to several schools in the Canberra region.

We are acutely aware of the need to develop and maintain strong relationships with our stakeholders. A recent example of NCETS willingness to work closely with other organisations was the outposting, in late 2006, of one of our staff members to DEST for five months. In so doing, NCETS was able to assist the department to develop statistical expertise and knowledge related to early years learning, which is part of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Human Capital Reform Agenda.

ABS's reputation for the collection and dissemination of quality statistics is widely acknowledged. However, there is more to the work of NCETS than information gathering and reporting. NCETS also undertakes conceptual development of initiatives that will improve the quality, comparability, and comprehensiveness of education and training statistics. Measuring Learning in Australia: Plan to Improve the Quality, Coverage and Use of Education and Training Statistics (cat. no. 4231.0), which was published in 2003, serves as guide to key agencies and stakeholders in the sector as it articulates a set of agreed priorities for the development of education and training statistics. NCETS has recently consulted with relevant agencies as part of the process of reviewing and updating the Plan.

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.

Dr Chris Duncan
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.
  • 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 groups 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'.


Latest data about the educational experience of Australians were released in December 2006 and are available in Education and Work, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 6227.0). This survey collected information in May 2006 to describe characteristics of education participation and experience in relation to labour force characteristics. In February 2007, data from the August 2006 National Schools Statistics Collection were released in Schools, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 4221.0). This collection details information about students, school affiliation and staff. The ABS Apparent Retention Rate Series has been the subject of extensive review by NCETS, culminating in an ABS research paper, Deriving Measures of Engagement in Secondary Education from the National Schools Statistics Collection ABS cat. no. 1351.0.55.016), which was released in December 2006.

Implementation of a new occupation classification in all ABS collections is underway. The publication ANZSCO - Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, First Edition (cat. no. 1220.0) was released in September 2006. It contains detailed information about: the conceptual basis underlying ANZSCO; the relationship between ANZSCO and the previous Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO) Second Edition; and the classification structure and definitions for occupational groups and occupations. For the 2006 Census of Population and Housing, occupation information will be dual-coded to ANZSCO and ASCO Second Edition. For enquiries about ANZSCO, please contact Andrew Woolley on (02) 6252 7073 or by email to a.c.woolley@abs.gov.au.

The popular product A Directory of Education and Training Statistics (cat. no. 1136.0) is being updated, and will be released on the web from July 2007. Users will find this a very useful guide to the range of ABS and non-ABS statistical resources related to education and training activity in Australia.

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


The NCETS ongoing program of work includes a range of projects undertaken by the National Education and Training Statistics Unit (NETSU).

There are some exciting survey developments that will extend the availability of information about adult learners and literacy and lifeskills, beyond our core regular survey program. Find out more about the:
  • Adult Learning Survey, which is a part of the ABS 2006-07 Multi Purpose Household Survey program. It was conducted over a 12 month period, commencing in July 2006. This survey aims to collect internationally comparable data on "continuing education and training" participation, targeting the 25-64 years age cohort; and
  • Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey, which was conducted in 2006 as part of an international round of adult literacy surveys being coordinated by the OECD. We are looking forward to publishing the initial results from the survey, which are expected to be released in late 2007.
Other research and investigative work undertaken by NCETS has culminated in proposed additional measures to better describe the education and training activities of Australians. In particular:
  • Two projects have been undertaken to develop alternative measures of secondary education and measures of attainment for youth, Indigenous people and mature-aged workers. This work will culminate in a 'Profile of Participation and Outcomes', a suite of measures expected to be released in August 2007. This profile will inform strategic policy development, assist in the preparation of Ministerial and other briefings, and enable reporting by a wide range of clients in the education and training sectors; and
  • Options for ongoing dissemination of a suite of measures developed for use in conjunction with the current measure of apparent retention rate (ARR) are currently being explored. This suite is discussed in the paper Deriving Measures of Engagement in Secondary Education from the National Schools Statistics Collection (cat. no. 1351.0.55.016), released in December 2006.

You can see a comprehensive listing of these and other projects currently being undertaken, and a description of each, on the Education and Training Noticeboard, under 'Work in Progress'.


For information about recently released ABS publications related to education and training statistics, please see Education and Training Releases on the Education and Training theme page. For information about the range of statistical collections or key statistical publications that have at least some education and training content (whether ABS or non-ABS), please see the publication A Directory of Education and Training Statistics (cat. no. 1136.0).

Links to other sources of education and training statistics are located via Other Related Sources of Information, on the Education and Training theme page.


Contacting NCETS

The Director: Dr Chris Duncan
Email: christopher.duncan@abs.gov.au
Phone: (02) 6252 5936
Fax: (02) 6252 7784

Postal address:
National Centre for Education and Training Statistics
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Locked Bag 10, BELCONNEN ACT 2616

Statistical inquiries

The ABS's National Information and Referral Service is the first point of contact for all your statistical and publication enquiries.
Phone: 1300 135 070
Fax: 1300 135 211
Post: Client Services, ABS, GPO Box 796, Sydney 1041
Email: client.services@abs.gov.au, and you will be contacted within two working days.

Contacting ABS state and territory Education Statistics Liaison Officers

New South Wales
Ph: (02) 9268 4651
Email: tanya.dart@abs.gov.au

Ph: (03) 9615 7860
Email: antonella.caruso@abs.gov.au

Ph: (07) 3222 6488
Email: mark.hudson@abs.gov.au

South Australia
Ph: (08) 8237 7336
Email: stuart.finlay@abs.gov.au

Western Australia
Ph: (08) 9360 5920
Email: andy.separovic@abs.gov.au

Ph: (03) 9615 7211
Email: david.obrien@abs.gov.au

Northern Territory
Ph: (08) 8943 2188
Email: rebecca.luxford@abs.gov.au

Australian Capital Territory
Ph: (02) 6252 8909
Email: rhonda.devos@abs.gov.au