AUSSIE EDUCATOR

Education is a shared commitment between dedicated teachers, motivated students and enthusiastic parents with high expectations. Bob Beauprez

With the major election of this year now completed, people can sit down and work out what the future will and will not bring over the next few years. People will judge for themselves whether they are happy with the result or not, both overall as well as in relation to specific areas. Only time will tell whether their feelings are vindicated or not. In the education sector, there are undoubtedly many who would not be happy with the outcome. Numerous groups had clearly stated their belief and position prior to the election. These ranged from individuals to associations across all areas of education.

A selection of responses from a range of people and bodies [after the election] includes the following : Messages the government will want to hear; ‘Business as usual’ after surprise Australian election result; Group of Eight welcomes the newly elected Morrison Government; Unis submit wishlists, with plaudits; Principals react to federal election result; ECA calls on new Coalition Government to take action on child poverty and disadvantage; Universities Australia also has a welcome and request. In addition, others took the opportunity to comment on varying aspects. Such people included Andrew Norton; Duncan Ivison; and those from Inside Story on Election 2019.

It seems that Dan Tehan will remain as the Minister for Education. As for Michaelia Cash and Karen Andrews, and the positions they held, no decision appears to have been reached at this time, though these should be settled shortly.

In higher education, Stephen Matchett has some recent articles covering future actions including one titled The hard HE policy yards start now which is well worth reading. Other commentators/groups cover other areas. Interesting times lie ahead.

As previously, there have been a range of reports and statements from non-political sources on various aspects of education which can often be overlooked during highly politicised periods. For example, Strengthening Skills : Expert Review of Australia’s Vocational Education and Training System was only finalised in April, but if adopted could have a significant effect in the Vocation Education sector [see further information in the next section]. A number of reports are included below while more are ready for inclusion in the near future. Meanwhile, you may be interested in some, if not all, of the following items.

  • We have culled a number of competitions from the listing following the review mentioned previously and added the first of a new group. These competitions are in a number of areas and, importantly, still allow for participation in 2019. We also have another group to be added, though these have already finished for 2019. They will be added shortly so you are aware of them for the future. They cover all listing areas. As in the past, if you are aware of a quality competition which has not been listed, we would appreciate being made aware of it.
  • We alluded above to what might happen in education following the election. Some areas are already starting to make noises about this. One as indicated, though, should have a head start. An independent review of the vocational education and training sector was completed just prior to the election being called. Steven Joyce, a former New Zealand Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, was tasked with undertaking this. More than 70 recommendations were made, based around the parameters of the review. Commentary included articles such as Joyce VET Review released - VDC and Australia’s National VET Review : The Story So Far which also lists a range of other commentary beside their own.
  • It is indicated the review ‘set out to conduct a health check of the Australian VET sector to determine how ready it is to step up to the challenge of training more Australians, now and in the future’. It will be interesting whether the recommendations which end up being accepted achieve this.
  • Meanwhile NCVER continues to provide a raft of reporting in various formats about aspects of the vocational sector. One aspect has become the centre of a recent Focus. Focus on VET for secondary students gives access to a wide range of information about this oft forgotten aspect of vocational education.
  • If you think there are directions in which education should head, then here is another chance to Have your Say about aspects of education. The closing date for submissions to the Review of the Melbourne Declaration is not till 14 June 2019. Interested ? Then don’t miss the opportunity.
  • ‘The National Quality Framework [NQF] provides a national approach to the regulation of the quality of education and care services across Australia. It’s been five years since the last review in 2014 and it’s time to check back in and see what areas of the NQF can still be improved, including the National Law and National Regulations. We want to capture as many voices as possible by July 2019 during this first phase, and we’d like to hear about what’s most important to you’. Find out more information About the NQF Review here and also this page. The second page will give you access to the survey if you wish to take part.

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There seems to be an unending supply of documents being produced about all aspects of education. It proves difficult at times to select only a few for inclusion [‘Life wasn’t meant to be easy’]. Several recent items are listed below that are felt to warrant at least a brief mention. See what you think about each and whether you agree or not. Most items are Australian in origin. Follow each link that piques your particular interest.

A Learning Sciences Perspective on Personalised Learning
Pesonalised learning is not new but is becoming more used in the classroom. You can find information on it from a number of sources [e.g. Personalised Learning : ... [InformED]]. This American article by Richard Halvorsen steps through most aspects especially from the Learning Perspectives outlook. Interesting reading.

Are we really running schools like factories ?
Inside Story. Gonski called time on Australia’s “industrial” model of “mass education”. But does the diagnosis — and the prescription — reflect classroom reality. Be sure to read his last paragraph [but read the rest first].

A World ready To Learn : ...
Prioritising quality early childhood education [Global Report]. ‘The evidence contained in this report shows that quality early childhood education – preschool – helps place this [education] cycle in motion. By the time a child enters grade one, the foundations for success are already in place. Yet only half of the world’s preschool-age children receive this early benefit’. UNICEF report that has only just been completed. A lot to read but worthwhile.

Improving Educational Equity in Australia
A multi-section presentation from the Gonski Institute at the University of NSW which starts from the question - What is equity ?. Following sections respond to other questions related to this theme, probably the most important of which is - What do we still need to learn ? A fairly brief presentation but one which should raise the interest of anyone who is concerned about genuine equity of opportunity.

Student Outcomes
NCVER. ‘The National Student Outcomes Survey is an annual survey of students who completed their vocational education and training in Australia during the previous calendar year. The survey collects information on students’ reasons for training, their employment outcomes, satisfaction with training, and further study outcomes. The main reason for not continuing with the training is also collected for subject completers’. Not one, but a group of reports on different components. Pick and choose at will but all material is of the highest quality in this area.

The Benefits of Socioeconomically and Racially Integrated Schools and Classrooms
This recent Century Foundation, USA Factsheet [April 2019] is fascinating - short and exceptionally easy to read. Some aspects may not be specifically relevant in the Australian setting but many are, and in fact are becoming more noticeable to many people such as Chris Bonnor who sees it as a ‘Timely reinforcement of the benefits of bridging and linking’.


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