CLEAR THE DECKS: Students unwilling to learn should not be in school, says a reader.
CLEAR THE DECKS: Students unwilling to learn should not be in school, says a reader.

LETTER: Attitude problem

Attitude problem

I AM waiting, apparently in vain, for experienced educator, to admit that the most important factor in a child's education is attitude.

Why do other countries embarrass us by their superiority in educational achievement?

Their students do not have higher IQ's, they simply have a burning desire to learn instilled in them by their parents and encouraged by a system that rewards genuine ability.

Australia's problem, which no one will admit, is that education is compulsory. Don't we all rebel against something that is compulsory?

In contrast, when students we education as a privilege they will want to attend school and study hard, lest they lose their golden opportunity to better themselves.

I think we should clear the decks of students unwilling to learn.

Encourage them to leave school and learn a trade or something, rather than drift into a tertiary education for which they are unsuited.

As long as they remain in classrooms they are a hindrance to those who want to learn.

As someone who has devoted his life to teaching and educational administration, I am bemused by the commonly accepted notion that more money will produce better educational outcomes.

Fix the attitude problem, get rid of the dregs in the teaching profession and we may eventually be proud of our place on the ladder of educational achievement worldwide.



Power the big issue

WHILE the cashless card is important to some of the community, the issue of sky-rocketing electricity costs affect all members of the community.

Instead of grandstanding about one issue that might or might not happen why don't all the pollies get together and do something about power "gouging” by companies who have absolutely no scruples at all about raising their costs whenever they feel the urge to do so.

Bundaberg has plenty of state and federal members (and a lot of has-beens) willing to argue about anything that will get their pictures in the media so how about they get on to the issue of power price increases?

These increases will happen whereas the cashless card only might happen.


Elliott Heads

Health funds are fair

THE article Health funds out to make you sick by Herald Sun business writer Karina Barrymore (NM, 06/06), contains so many factual errors a right of reply is necessary to avoid causing needless alarm to readers.

The claim there is a "bottomless pit of money” spent on lobbying the Federal Government to allow them to increase their premiums, is nonsense.

The price setting process for health funds is defined by Federal Government regulation.

Premiums are determined by an exchange of actuarial data based on the cost of claims of the past year, and predicted claims costs and health inflation over the coming years.

This data is analysed by APRA and the Department of Health and the premiums determined.

As the main representative for health funds in Canberra, I can categorically say there is no lobbying of any government official involved in this, or any budget for this kind of activity.

It is also incorrect to claim health funds are "forcing doctors and hospitals to collude on prices and discount their services”.

This is just not possible the way the health system works, as the Commonwealth Medicare Benefits Schedule underpins doctors' prices, and hospital accommodation prices are negotiated separately.

A robust system of contracting with providers is not only highly regulated, but is essential to inject market forces into the system and keep premium costs down.

There is no evidence health funds are forcing patients to use a "limited pool of surgeons or specialists” or any other provider.

The writer also makes provocative statements about health fund profits.

All health funds need to sensibly invest funds over the course of the year to be able to function as regulated financial services.

As our pricing cycle determines prices can only be altered once a year.

Funds need to wait until the following year to be able to pass any excess capital back to members.

Across the whole spectrum of private health, health fund average margins of 4%-5% are modest compared with private hospitals at 15%-18% and medical procedural specialists at 25%-30%.


Chief Executive Officer

Private Healthcare Australia

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