In 2008–09, the Australian Government committed $16.2 billion in funding over four years to provide new facilities and refurbishments in Australian schools to meet the needs of 21st century students and teachers through the Building the Education Revolution (BER) program.
The BER is the single largest element of the Australian Government’s $42 billion Nation Building – Economic Stimulus Plan, providing economic stimulus by supporting jobs and infrastructure projects to modernise schools in communities across Australia.
BER funding has now been allocated for nearly 24,000 projects in approximately 9,500 schools under the three elements of the BER¹:
1. $14.1 billion Primary Schools for the 21st Century (P21), funding 7,920 schools for 10,474 projects, including new libraries, multipurpose halls, classrooms and the refurbishment of existing facilities
2. $821.8 million Science and Language Centres for 21st Century Secondary Schools (SLC), funding 537 schools for refurbishment or construction of new science laboratories or language learning centres
3. $1.28 billion National School Pride (NSP) program, funding 9,463 schools for 12,634 projects, including the refurbishment of buildings and construction or upgrade of fixed shade structures, covered outdoor learning areas, sporting grounds and facilities and green upgrades.
Through the BER, the Commonwealth aims to:
provide economic stimulus through the rapid construction and refurbishment of school infrastructure
build learning environments to help children, families and communities participate in activities that will support achievement, develop learning potential and bring communities together.
The BER is underpinned by a strong partnership approach between the Australian, State and Territory governments and non-government education authorities.
The Commonwealth, States, Territories and Block Grant Authorities (BGAs) agreed to work in partnership to deliver the BER in accordance with:
the National Partnership Agreement on the Nation Building and Jobs Plan: Building Prosperity for the Future and Supporting Jobs Now, the Bilateral Agreement on the Nation Building and Jobs Plan that the Commonwealth has with each State and Territory
the funding agreement supporting the Building the Education Revolution: the National Partnership Agreement on Nation Building and Jobs Plan (BGA Funding Agreement) with each BGA.
In addition, the Commonwealth, State, Territory and BGA responsibilities are set out in the program guidelines.
The BER program is scheduled to be completed by 30 June 2012.
¹ Data are at 31 August 2010.