Learning to Share

Learning to Share: Australia’s Building the Education Revolution and Shared School Facilities

2012 Journal of Educational Administration and History, vol.44, Iss.2, pp.105-119
Ian McShane

Abstract

This article analyses the conceptual and policy contexts of the Australia’s Building the Education Revolution (BER) program. This $A15 billion commitment to renewing school facilities is the Australian government’s largest single measure of economic stimulus in response to the recent global financial crisis. Public debate and analysis of BER has focused on its economic objective. This article looks beyond that debate to discuss the program’s second, less publicised aim, to promote community engagement with schools by specifying that funded facilities will be available for community use. Contrary to competing claims that BER is an education revolution or an exemplar of government mismanagement, the article argues that BER’s building-led approach is consistent with the Australian national government’s role in infrastructure provision, and its focus on shared schools complements state-level priorities. However, the article identifies several areas of the program’s design that require attention to optimize this highpoint of investment in school facilities. Keywords: policy analysis, planning, shared facilities, governance, community engagement,school libraries.

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