From 1943 until 2009 it has been compulsory for students in NSW to attend school until the age of 15, but in May 2009 the New South Wales Parliament increased the school leaving age of 15 to 17 years. The law started operating from the 1st of January 2010. All states and territories in Australia are making similar changes.
The reason why the age has risen is to help young people gain skills for their future lives and to maximise their preparation for further education, training or employment.
Some positive aspects are that we would learn more, be able to get a better job, have a better future, gain skills to help us in our future lives and we would also have completed the HSC (high school certificate).
Studies here and overseas have found that teenagers who leave school early are two and a half times more likely to be unemployed, earn lower wages and have poorer health. Every year in Australia around 50,000 young people aged from 15 to 19 drop out of education and training and are unemployed.
There have been positive views and general support from the majority of students and parents for the change. However, some students believe that their freedom of choice has been limited as they may have good reasons to leave school early. Therefore, this is the nature of discrimination and is a problem.
To support diversity and freedom of choice for students the society could provide a process to deal with special situations allowing students to leave school early for reasons such as having to support family, wanting or needing to work, health reasons, teenage pregnancy and other personal reasons.
Some negative aspects are that, you may need to drop out of school earlier for the reasons listed above, school may not be for you or you may like to have a certain career which doesn’t require year 11 and 12 education, for example a builder or a sport talent.
Many rich people and celebrities have dropped out of school early and they have had very successful lives. Including: Australian and global singers, actors, radio and TV presenters and authors. Some of their names are: Tom Cruise, Britney Spears, Daniel Radcliffe and Kyle Sandilands.
In conclusion, there are many positive reasons for the compulsory school leaving age being 17. However, i think that the society should support diversity and the freedom of choice for students.
Thank you for listening.