About Science and Language Centres for 21st Century Secondary Schools
This element of Building the Education Revolution (BER) initiative has provided considerable funding to build science laboratories or language learning centres in secondary schools. Funding was also made available for major refurbishments of current science laboratories or language learning centres to create state of the art facilities under this element of BER.
State and territory education departments and BGAs conducted a competitive process to fund projects in secondary schools that satisfied the eligibility criteria for funding and demonstrated the greatest need and a readiness and capacity to be able to build the facilities within the 2009-10 financial year.
It is essential to provide secondary students studying the sciences and languages with access to contemporary learning technologies in their own learning spaces. This will drive personalised learning in an environment where teachers can respond to the individual learning needs of students. The investment in science laboratories and language learning centres has brought this technology directly to students.
Access to this sophisticated infrastructure has also ensured students are equipped with the resources to support the development of their skills to compete and prosper in a modern, globalised economy of the 21st century.
Sciences and languages are two subject areas in particular where the advances in modern technologies and infrastructure have had a significant impact on the interactive nature of teaching and learning in secondary schools.
$1 billion was made available to fund the building of science laboratories or language learning centres in Australian secondary schools. Up to 500 schools were funded.
Each state, territory and BGA conducted a competitive process seeking expressions of interest from secondary schools within their sectors and then submitted a priority list of projects to the Commonwealth for approval, derived according to the following criteria:
- demonstrated need or disadvantage—the determination of need was demonstrated by providing relevant evidence (quantitative and qualitative) to establish disadvantaged schools and school communities
- demonstrated need for the specified building— schools that did not have a contemporary science building/laboratory or a language learning centre, or any existing facilities of that kind or they were inadequate for the school’s current or emerging needs
- demonstrated readiness and capacity to begin and complete construction of the building within the 2009–10 financial year.
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations convened an assessment panel which made recommendations to the Deputy Prime Minister who decided which projects were funded.