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Prominent SA principal to review SACE

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The State Government has appointed a leading high school principal to conduct a review of the South Australian Certification of Education, including an assessment of the controversial Research Project subject and Year 12 subject numbers.

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Glenunga International High School principal and SA Secondary Principals’ Association vice president Wendy Johnson was announced as the reviewer today, fulfilling a Liberal Party election promise to conduct a review of the SACE in light of declining language enrolments.

Johnson’s review will assess whether the Research Project, a compulsory Year 12 (Stage 2) subject, should continue to account for 10 credits.

It will also focus on the required number of Stage 2 subjects and the role of Vocational Education and Training (VET) in the SACE.

The review follows an update to the SACE curriculum at the end of 2010, which cut minimum study requirements for Stage 2 from five subjects to four, with the fifth choice subject replaced by the compulsory Research Project.

The Research Project allows students to undertake research on a topic of their choosing, and was designed to develop students’ independence, research and communication skills.

Some educators criticised the change, citing a restriction on students’ subject choices and a decline in enrolments in subjects including secondary languages.

As InDaily has reported previously, Year 12 language enrolments showed a particular decline from 2010 (9.8 per cent of students) to 2011 (7.5 per cent of students), coinciding with the changes to the SACE.

Education Minister John Gardner said the purpose of the review was to ensure the state had “the most outstanding and highly regarded SACE possible”.

“This is an important step towards ensuring that we are preparing our students for their futures, giving them the best possible opportunities to develop the skills needed to get jobs and, through a stronger focus on entrepreneurial education, to create jobs,” he said.

Gardner said Johnson brought “a wealth of experience” to the role, including her involvement as a panel member informing the recent Gonski Review in March.

The Government expects the review’s final report, including recommendations, to be delivered by the end of the year.

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