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How to pay taxes when you’ve only been taught algebra…

Amelia Strazdins


Thirteen years. That is how long it takes most people to complete their standard education from prep to year 12. Throughout that duration, we are taught many important concepts and methods across various subjects, all of which build towards final exams and obtaining a QCE (Queensland Certificate of Education).

Whilst there is no doubting or disputing the vital importance these years of school have, there is a growing notion that our education system is perhaps missing crucial life skills needed to face the world post-high school. School and the education we gain through it, is about preparing individuals to make their way in the world. For those who have recently turned 18, about to leave the safety net provided by the last 13 years, everything can seem daunting. Part of that scariness is entering a new stage of life, that requires vital skills that many have not been taught yet. Taxes, car services, voting, job applications, budgeting. Everything just listed are fundamental life skills and yet many bright minds enter the ‘adult’ world post-graduation ill-equipped.

It poses the question; is our education system, across Australia, failing to properly prepare students for their lives post-school? For those who are fortunate enough, these life lessons are learnt and taught with a guiding hand from mum and dad or other family members, as they assist in navigating these everyday complexities. However, not every person is fortunate to have such guidance and support. That leaves another question, what should be done? Some schools already offer education-based learning for some skills, for example with RACQ based driving learning days, but undoubtably more support needs to be encouraged. Not only should the government further fund and facilitate such endeavours, but local community support is also important. Although simple, these lessons are vital; assisting students in registering to vote, how to change a tyre or developing a basic budget are all the foundational skills needed for the rest of their lives.

Part of ensuring a balanced education to our upcoming next generation includes traditional teachings but also seeks education in a non-traditional sense. Many of these lessons would potentially be best taught by those with experience, for example politicians putting aside their party politics and agenda for a day to teach new voters how to register, how to properly vote and what it means for their country. Or perhaps a local accountant or business owner outlining how to create a budget and explaining tax returns. Maybe even a local mechanic supporting schools in teaching students how to change tyres, check oil and develop proper car maintenance skills.

If we want to assist in properly educating bright new minds and equip them with the necessary foundational skills, we need to consider, support and promote the teachings of life skills within our education system.

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