Children are increasingly being taught how to care for themselves and their families, and in some cases, being taken out of school altogether.
A new system for “child care” has been introduced in Australia and is expected to cost Australian parents more than $2.2 billion a year, according to new research.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released the findings on Tuesday (local time), with the most recent figures coming from the National Institute of Health and Welfare (NICE) and the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS).
ABS researchers surveyed more than 100,000 adults, with more than half of respondents saying they would prefer to have their children take a “regular” education instead of an apprenticeship.
One in five said they were less likely to have a child in childcare than in the previous year, while more than a quarter said they would choose to “keep” their child.
The findings are in stark contrast to Australia’s national childcare strategy, which calls for all parents to have at least one child by 2030.
However, the ABS data suggests that “childcare” is no longer a priority for most parents.
“The majority of parents (57 per cent) feel that the number of children they have is more important than the number and quality of childcare they have, while just over a third of parents say it is the most important factor in choosing their child’s future,” the ABS said.
In fact, over a quarter of parents surveyed said childcare had become less important as a decision, and only 18 per cent said it was still important.
The ABS researchers also found that children in the “child-centred” school system were less happy, academically, and socially than children in traditional school settings.
“The findings suggest that parents of younger children are more likely to feel that they need a child-focused school, and this may reflect the fact that their children are already being taught the same lessons that parents in older age groups are learning,” the study said.
“A child-centre school system may be seen as an improvement, but parents of older children may feel that their child-centered education is more critical to their wellbeing.”
According to the ABS, Australia’s child care spending is expected by 2020 to be $2,066 billion.
The national childcare system, introduced in 2016, has seen the number one reason for children not attending school rise to 50 per cent, according the ABS.
More than half (54 per cent), of the respondents in the ABS survey said that the cost of childcare was the top reason they chose not to send their child to school.
“While it is not a completely satisfactory outcome, it is an indication that many parents are opting not to have children of any age,” the report said.