Speeches Chris has made in the Australian Federal Parliament.

Statement by Members - COVID-19: Education

August 25, 2021

Mr HAYES (Fowler—Chief Opposition Whip) (13:39): This year, 2021, has been an incredibly difficult year for Australians but particularly so for year 12 students, who have seen their final year of secondary education thrown into turmoil. Their mental health and wellbeing has suffered due to the lack of face-to-face contact with their peers and their teachers. They are facing the very real prospect of their school achievements passing without formal recognition or graduation. My granddaughter Charlie is in year 12. She loves school, but remote learning has taken a toll on her as she tries to navigate learning in an isolated environment. These students know what the pandemic has robbed them of, while the New South Wales government still insists they sit a formal period of exams. The pandemic has changed the government's response to almost everything in our community, but not this year's HSC and the stress and the uncertainty this is causing students.

It's time to rethink the validity of the HSC, particularly for this year, and its relevance to university entry. Given the absence of overseas students, our universities are not waiting for the HSC results but are offering more places through early entry provisions. I don't believe this year's HSC is a valid tool of the assessment, but the current level of uncertainty is certainly affecting the welfare of our students. It's time that the New South Wales government listened to our young people, their teachers and, indeed, nearly the entire education sector of New South Wales.