Is it me, or is Australia in deep trouble? I’ve spent 3 years developing an alternative curriculum and education system for high schools called the Inventorium, and have researched and interacted with lots of schools around Australia and many of the Assessment Boards. In my experience, South Australia has the most forward thinking and flexible High School offering with the SACE Board leading the charge for relevant education under the leadership of Prof. Martin Westwell; we have some of the most amazing schools and teachers who push the boundaries of the education system as far as possible to develop flexible offerings to adapt to students needs – Thebarton, Playford, Salisbury East, Heathfield, Open Access, Youth Inc, and the list could go on and on; we are home to a group of EdTech entrepreneurs providing national leading edge education solutions such as Makers Empire, and Edufolios which transforms the professional development of teachers; and we have a Government strategy to promote entrepreneurship education which aligns with the economic demographic of the large number of small business and self-employed people in the State.
So I’m left wondering what the Department of Education is doing other than holding back everyone mentioned above? What leads them to think we are so far off being world class that it is an ‘ambitious vision’ to become world class? Why do they feel this needs 10 years to be achieved – and how will they justify this to the parents of the children educated in the next 10 years that they feel less than world class is acceptable? And what do they currently believe about the provision they are sustaining as it clearly not meeting world class standards in their eyes?
I read somewhere yesterday that Bangladesh has a population of 150 million, with 50% literacy rate and less than 1% of the population completing High School. A 10 year vision to achieve world class education as an ‘ambitious vision’ might be appropriate there. But we’re not facing the challenges that Bangladesh faces. We’re in Australia.
In 2018 the Federal Government published the Gonski Report regarding the future of education in Australia and 18 months on, nothing has happened or changed systemically. Much is happening at the school level, but not systemically. And when I see posters such as the one shown above in the lift of the building that houses ‘the system’ and offers a strategy to address the vision, it is obvious why.
But maybe I’m on my own here. Would this motivate you?