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4211.0 - Education and Training Matters, Dec 2008  
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EDUCATION AND TRAINING MATTERS

Welcome to the third 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.

CONTENTS
From the Director's Chair
The role of NCETS
Recent developments in education and training statistics
Engagement in education and work
Final expenditure on education
Socio-economic indexes for areas (SEIFA)
Further contact


FROM THE DIRECTOR'S CHAIR

I have recently commenced as the Director of NCETS, and want to thank Dr Chris Duncan for his work leading NCETS for the past few years. Chris has taken up a position in the NT Government's Department of Business and Employment. My previous position in the ABS was as the Director of the National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics, and I have also had roles in the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination within FaHCSIA and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. I have taken over from Chris at a very busy and exciting time for the NCETS team.

Since the previous newsletter of June 2008, NCETS has been working to complete a number of analytical projects including ones related to the national reform agenda and the COAG Productivity Agenda framework. In collaboration with working groups, a review of the indicative progress measures has commenced in relation to ABS data sources which can provide information about the proposed measures of early childhood education, schooling and skills and workforce development. Future NCETS work will incorporate a review of the data available for the measures from ABS Indigenous surveys.

In the last six months, NCETS staff have released information about health literacy and have adapted a methodology to generate experimental small area estimates of adult literacy. This information has been derived from the results of the 2006 Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALLS). This rich data set, released in November 2007, provides details of persons aged 15–74 years as assessed over four key domains: prose literacy, document literacy, numeracy, and problem solving.

The results of the August 2007 National Schools Statistics Collection, included the new measure, 'Apparent Continuation Rate' (ACR). The ACR is the proportion of a birthyear cohort of school students who do not leave school between one year and the next. Feedback received on the new measure has been positive. To further complement ACRs and the long established Apparent Retention Rates (ARRs), Schools, Australia 2008 will introduce another new measure 'Apparent Progression Rate'. This will measure the proportion of a birthyear cohort of full-time school students who progress from one specified grade to the next.

In the last newsletter, we announced the release of a new series of detailed education and training spreadsheets (or 'data cubes'), available via the ABS website. These spreadsheets use a variety of ABS data sources, to present data from 2001 to 2007, on a range of key performance measures of participation, engagement and attainment. In this newsletter, Engagement in education and work illustrates a sample of data that may be extracted from those data cubes. The full spreadsheets can be accessed via the publication Education and Work, Australia May 2007 (cat. no. 6227.0). At the time of writing, the process to update the spreadsheets following the release of the 2008 Survey of Education and Work (cat. no. 6227.0) is well underway and they are expected to be released in February 2009.

Other special features of this edition, include: a brief description of the total expenditure on education, as sourced to the System of National Accounts; and a brief description of the 2006 Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA). Readers familiar with SEIFA, should especially note the changes outlined since the 2001 SEIFA.

Links to the above-mentioned collections are found below, see Education and training related publications.

The National Education and Training Statistics Unit (NETSU) Management Board met in Melbourne last month. Dr Paul Balnaves, Branch Manager, Strategic Information Management in DEEWR provided the Board with a presentation on the work of COAG's recently established Productivity Agenda Working Group (PAWG) Data Subgroup. The Board also discussed papers related to a review of the PAWG framework of indicative progress measures, expansion of the National Schools Statistical Collection and a forthcoming review of NETSU.

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
Director
National Centre for Education and Training Statistics



THE ROLE OF NCETS


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'.


RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN EDUCATION AND TRAINING STATISTICS

Heading in to 2009 will be an exciting time, with the conduct of the next Survey of Education and Training (SET09). The survey is being conducted from March to June 2009, for all persons aged 15-74, with results expected to be available in March 2010. It 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. Development work on the 2009 Survey of Education and Training has already involved extensive testing through focus groups, cognitive testing, skirmishes, an expert panel review and a dress rehearsal. In consultation with key stakeholders, the most notable changes to the survey since the 2005 survey, 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.
The former Child Care Survey, which is now known as the Childhood Education and Care Survey (CEaCS), was conducted in June 2008. This change reflects the increase in overlap between education and care arrangements. The 2008 CEaCS contains a revised Child Care topic and the addition of a new Early Years Learning topic. The Child Care survey has been collected by the ABS every 3-4 years since 1969 and consequently has a rich time series available. The major aims of the CEaCS are to collect data on the use of, and need for, child care and early childhood education for children aged less than 13 years. Information is also collected on the use of the Child Care Benefit (CCB) and the income, educational attainment and working arrangements of parents with children aged less than 13 years. In 2008, data was also collected on the informal learning activities in which children may participate with parents or other people.

The key information objectives of CEaCS are:
    • Time series data for children aged 0-12 years on the use of formal care, informal care and preschool attendance; parental requirements for additional child care and preschool participation; patterns of attendance; child care costs; the use of the Child Care Benefit; parental income and working arrangements used by parents to help care for their children.
    • Characteristics of children aged 0-8 years in their early learning years, including the types of formal, non-formal and informal learning activities they engage in and the environments in which these activities take place; patterns of attendance, including historical and usual attendance and intensity of attendance and barriers to and difficulties participating in formal and non-formal education.

Work on the long term project 'Education & Training Data Matrices' has commenced. The matrices will initially include education and training data from the ABS General Social Surveys. They will include standard education data items such as Level of Highest Non-School Qualification and current education participation. A similar product, the Migrant Data Matrices, was developed by the National Migrant Statistics Unit and gives an idea of what the final product will look like.

Schools statistics

Following feedback from key stakeholders, the ongoing structure of the schools preliminary publication has now been finalised. Schools, Australia, (preliminary) (Cat. No. 4220.0) is expected to be released on the 29th of January 2009. It will contain some brief text and data, which will be restricted to basic state and territory comparisons of numbers of schools, students, and staff, and some retention rates and student/teacher ratios. The final publication (Cat. No. 4221.0), is to be released mid-March 2009 in concert with the release of Supertables on the website. In 2008 the promised Supertables were not loaded to the website, but were still available on request as EXCEL pivot tables. It is expected that clients will have access to both options in 2009.

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

The Survey of Education and Work (SEW) is conducted annually and provides summary information on the educational experience of persons aged 15-64 years. The SEW is conducted in May of each year, as a supplementary survey to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). Information collected includes participation in education in the previous year, and in the survey month, educational attainment, transition from education to work and selected characteristics of apprentices.

Summary findings for Australia, each State and Territory, capital city/balance of state (excluding Territories) are released via the annual publication. A Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF) is produced every second year, most recently for 2007. A recent initiative has been the progressive addition since May 2008, of a series of selected 'data cubes'. These data cubes present an expanded range of statistics in spreadsheet format which supplement the annual publication. The following information is from the data cube 'Persons aged 15-24 engaged in education or training and/or work, by single year of age, by State/Territory of Residence, Sex and age group'. To read more about the annual Survey of Education and Work, or access the following results please refer to Education and Work, Australia May 2007 (cat. no. 6227.0).

Persons fully engaged in education and training and, or work(a) by age group

graph: Persons fully engaged in education and training and, or work(a) by age group

(a) All persons engaged in full-time education and training; or full-time work; or part-time education and training, and part-time work.

Source: Education and Work, Australia, May 2007, cat no. 6227.0 (Data Cubes)

As expected, a greater proportion of young Australians aged 15-24 years are fully engaged in education and training and or work, than Australians aged 25-64 years. This largely reflects the proportion of young people participating in full time secondary school education and in initial non-school education. In both age groups, the proportion of full-time engagement has increased over the previous 6 years, since 2001.

At 2007, 84% of 15-24 year olds were in either full-time education and training, full-time work, or part-time education and part-time work. The comparative proportion for those aged 25-64 years was 61%. Since 2001, the full-time participation rate has increased by 2 percentage points for 15-24 year olds and by 3 percentage points for 25-64 year olds.

Persons fully engaged in education and training and, or work(a) by sex

graph: Persons fully engaged in education and training and, or work (a) by sex

(a) All persons 15-64 years engaged in full-time education and training; or full-time work; or part-time education and training, and part-time work.

Source: Education and Work, Australia, May 2007, cat no. 6277.0 (Data Cubes)

A greater proportion of Australian men are fully engaged in education and training and or work, than Australian women. This largely reflects the proportion of women who do not participate in the labour force or do so on a part-time basis. The proportion of full-time engagement for both men and women has increased over the previous 6 years, since 2001.

At 2007, 81% of males aged 15-64 years were in either full-time education and training, full-time work, or part-time education and part-time work. By comparison, the proportion for females was 51%. Since 2001, the full-time participation rate for both males and females aged 15-64 years, has increased by 3 percentage points.
FINAL EXPENDITURE ON EDUCATION

Education may be provided in a range of settings, such as educational institutions, the workplace, or the home. Generally, instruction is delivered through face-to-face interaction between teachers/instructors and students, although other means and mediums of delivery, such as by correspondence, radio, television or the internet, may be used. The expenditure related to the delivery and support of such services can be sourced from the Australian System of National Accounts, where education is a defined industry, in accordance with the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 1993 (cat. no. 1292.0).

Summary data on education expenditure are published annually in Australian System of National Accounts (cat. no. 5204.0), and detailed data in Government Finance Statistics, Education, Australia (cat. no. 5518.0.55.001). Information on final education expenditure, using these data, was formerly published in the annual Year Book Australia (cat. no. 1301.0). However, as this product will no longer be produced, key data for 2007–08 are presented here. Please note that data for individual time periods is expressed 'in current prices', i.e. in terms of prices at a given time. Consequently, changes over time may be affected by price changes.

Final Expenditure on Education
Final Expenditure on Education
Source: Australian System of National Accounts, 2007–08, cat no. 5204.0

Over the period 2001-02 to 2006-07, final expenditure on education increased by 56%, from $42 billion (b) to $66b. As a proportion of Australia's GDP, it varied between 5.8% and 6.0% of GDP over the period. Growth in final consumption expenditure on education (55%) was lower than in gross fixed capital formation on education (64%). From 2004-05 to 2007-08, gross fixed capital formation surged, with annual increases between 9.4% and 12.8% over those years.

Final Expenditure on Education, by Sector

Graph: Final Expenditure on Education, by Sector


Private expenditure on education consists of household final consumption expenditure for the purpose of education services, plus gross fixed capital formation by private sector units classified to the education industry (e.g. the value of work done on new building works of non-government educational institutions). Private expenditure on education in 2007-08 was $25b, an increase of 68% since 2001-02. Education expenditure by general government was $42b, an increase of 49% since 2001-02.

SOCIO-ECONOMIC INDEXES FOR AREAS (SEIFA)

Have you come across the acronyms SEIFA, IRSD or IEO in the context of socio-economic conditions of geographic areas? Would you like to know more about how ABS constructs socio-economic indexes and how they may be applied to education related data? The Information paper An Introduction to Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), 2006 (cat. no. 2039.0) released in March 2008 provides a brief overview of the 2006 SEIFA Indexes. It describes the concept of socio-economic disadvantage; how the indexes that comprise SEIFA are constructed; how to interpret SEIFA scores; and how to use SEIFA effectively. Changes to SEIFA over time and the impact of those changes are also discussed.

More about SEIFA

SEIFA comprises a suite of four indexes, which ranks geographic areas of Australia in terms of their socio-economic characteristics. Information collected in the five-yearly Census of population and Housing is used to construct the indexes. For each index a 'score' is created based on characteristics of people, families and dwellings within that area. These indexes are useful in showing how one community in Australia compares to another community. They are:
    • Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage (IRSD) - summarises information about the economic and social resources of people and households within an area, and includes only measures of relative disadvantage.
    • Index of Relative Socio-economic Advantage and Disadvantage (IRSAD) - also summarises information about the economic and social resources of people and households within an area, but includes both relative advantage and disadvantage measures.
    • Index of Economic Resources (IER) - focuses on the general level of access to economic resources of people and households within an area.
    • Index of Education and occupation (IEO) - focuses on the general level of education and occupation-related skills of people within an area.

The 2006 SEIFA indexes are available for the following geographic areas:
    • Collection District (CD) (nb. There were 38,704 CDs in 2008, compared with 37,209 CDs in 2001)
    • Statistical Local Area (SLA)
    • Local Government Area (LGA)
    • Postal Area (POA)
    • State Suburb (SSC)

Each SEIFA index is presented as a suite of 'numbers' which rank areas in order of disadvantage, but are used for different purposes. SEIFA indexes are presented by:
    • Score: A score for CDs is created by adding together the weighted characteristics of that CD. All scores for CDs are standardised to a distribution where the average equals 1000 and roughly two-thirds of the scores lie between 900 and 1100.
    • Rank: CDs are ranked in order of their score, from lowest (1) to highest (37,457) (there are fewer CDs used in SEIFA, usually related to a very low number or nil household dwellings).
    • Decile: deciles divide the distribution into ten equal groups, from Decile 1 (the lowest 10%) to Decile 10 (the highest 10%).
    • Percentile: percentiles divide the distribution into one hundred equal groups, from Decile 1 (the lowest 1%) to Decile 10 (the highest 1%). Percentiles allow users to create their own groupings, such as quartiles (25% distribution).
The example below, illustrates how data are presented by selected geographical location.

Statistical Local Area (2006)
Index of Relative Socio-economic Advantage and Disadvantage
Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage
Index of Economic Resources
Index of Education and Occupation
Usual Resident Population
Score
Decile
Score
Decile
Score
Decile
Score
Decile
105456351
(Penrith East)
978
6
989
5
1009
6
916
2
91,199
105456354
(Penrith West)
1024
7
1026
7
1040
8
960
5
78,942
*For more information on geography, refer to Statistical Geography Volume 1 - Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), July 2006 (cat . no. 12216.0)

You can look up SEIFA indexes for areas of interest, simply by accessing the ABS website at Census of Population and Housing: Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), Australia - Data only, 2006 (cat. no. 2033.0.55.001).

Changes to 2006 SEIFA

If you have used SEIFA before, you are probably already aware that the 2006 version replaces the 2001 (previous Census) version. It is important to be aware of the key changes, as comparisons of data using the current and previous versions of SEIFA, are generally not appropriate. You can read more about these changes in the information paper, but briefly, the changes relate to:

    • New variables introduced to the 2006 Census, for example, variables related to housing costs.
    • Changed variables in the 2006 Census, for example, variables related to occupation.
    • Use of Equivalised Household Income, replacing the previously used set of family-structure income variables.
    • Use of usual residence on Census night, replacing the previously used location on Census night.

EDUCATION AND TRAINING RELATED PUBLICATIONS

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.

First results of the August 2008 National Schools Statistics Collection will be available in Schools, Australia, Preliminary 2008 (cat. no. 4220.0), expected to be released 29 January 2009. The main publication will be released a short while later. Look for Schools Australia, 2008 (cat. no. 4221.0) to be released on 17 March 2009. These results include information about students, school affiliation and staff, and new measures of student progression through their schooling.

Statistics on expenditure on education by the general government sector, presented on an accrual accounting basis are taken from the system of Government Finance Statistics (GFS). Latest data are available in
Government Finance Statistics, Education, Australia, 2006-07 (cat. no. 5518.0.55.001 ) released 15 April 2008.

Health Literacy, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 4233.0) was released on 25 June 2008. The report examines health literacy using information from the 2006 Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALLS). The ALLS provides information on the knowledge and skills of 15 to 74 year olds in the following four domains: prose literacy, document literacy, numeracy and problem solving. A fifth domain measuring health literacy was produced as a by-product of the above domains. Additional data are also freely available as Data Cubes attached to the publication.

Research Paper: Experimental Estimates of Adult Literacy for Local Government Areas (Methodology Advisory Committee) (cat. no. 1352.0.55.094) was released on 21 August 2008. The research paper outlines the methodology used to derive experimental estimates of low adult literacy in local government areas, using information from the 2006 Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALLS).

The Census home page will direct you to the array of Census publications, electronic products and services that are currently available. You can also search for data based primarily on a selected location or topic, or you can go straight to one of the on-line tools to access data in the format you need. The education module in the 2006 Census of Population and Housing includes the variable 'Level of Highest Educational Attainment'. You can find out more about this and other education variables in Census Dictionary Australia, 2006 (Reissue) (cat. no. 2901.0).

For information about the range of statistical collections or key statistical publications that have at least some education and training content, please see the publication A Directory of Education and Training Statistics, 2007 (cat. no. 1136.0). The directory provides a summary of the scope, frequency, data items and related products associated with each ABS statistical collection. Similar information pertaining to a number of non-ABS collections, along with links to relevant websites, is also published in the directory.

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.


FURTHER CONTACT

Contacting NCETS

Director: Justine Boland
Email:
Justine.Boland@abs.gov.au
Phone: (02) 6252 5936
Fax: (02) 6252 7784
Mobil
e: 0448739581

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


Statistical inquiries

The ABS' 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 4376
Email:
larissa.wharton@abs.gov.au
or

Ph: (02) 9268 4415
Email: petra.lommers@abs.gov.au

Victoria
Ph: (03) 9615 7069
Email:
stella.young@abs.gov.au

Queensland
Ph: (
07) 3222 6207
Email:
lynne.peterson@abs.gov.au

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

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

Tasmania
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


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