The Importance of Education
It is several years since I finished a full time role in the Victorian Education Department. My commitment to schools, however, has not diminished. I constantly witness the dedication of educators and support staff in my current role as a mentor to principals of primary, secondary and special schools.
The period of lockdown and home schooling during 2020 meant that some parents developed a greater insight into the complex work of teachers. I hope this enhanced respect will be maintained. The extent to which the community values teachers ultimately impacts on whether school leavers see it as a career of choice. The profession requires and deserves the brightest and the best to join its ranks. Remuneration and conditions also play their part in ensuring roles in schools are sought after. School funding has to be a priority from all levels of government.
The pandemic highlighted the deficiencies in aged care and mental health services. Recent Victorian and federal budgets, understandably, gave priority to these areas. Certainly in Victoria, new schools were funded in the growth corridors, but this was simply necessary to keep abreast of demographic changes. The focus on the need for greater funding for schools appears to have diminished - hopefully temporarily.
Schools do not just play an educative function. Mental health issues will be minimised if schools are staffed appropriately so that children are guided to manage their own unique human fragilities.
Bank First understands the breadth of the work of schools. Teachers were the raison d’être for the establishment of the bank, and remain a large percentage of our Member base. Bank First contributes financially to professional associations that support schools. Recently we reviewed the very large number of grant applications received for our Teaching Initiatives Program. The successful schools and preschools will benefit from our funding.
I applaud all those who commit their lives to making schools the best they can be. Not only does each child deserve to have a clever, well-educated and emotionally astute teacher, if we can get our education system right our whole community will be the long term beneficiary. Bank First has a long history of investing in those people who build our communities.