The future begins at school
14 July 2021
When this year’s Year 12 students started school in 2010, the idea of carrying a small computer in your pocket was just taking off.
Smartphones have changed our lives in ways we could never have imagined from the social, physical and mental effects, to wider influences on work and community.
Given the rapid pace of technological and scientific advancements, how do we prepare 2021’s Year 1 students for the world they’ll enter as adults?
Andrew Beattie, principal of Whites Hill State College in Brisbane says schools need to make “massive changes” to equipment and buildings, program delivery, curriculum and educators’ skill sets.
“Repositioning the country for the 21st century begins in schools. Reconceptualising an entire education system, however, costs money. The current level of school resourcing is stifling the ability of many of our schools to teach the skills required to support the transition of the economy. These include critical and creative thinking, communication, collaboration and teamwork, personal and social skills and ICT skills.
For Australia to remain an advanced economy into the future, all students, regardless of where they go to school, deserve the opportunity to be at the forefront of the new economies as they emerge. This opportunity starts in every school and the federal government has a responsibility to greatly increase the funding to schools in order to achieve this goal. The federal government cannot continue to deflect responsibilities to the states.
You can’t say we’re going to be a nation of world beaters without actually investing in education. Just maintaining the current system is not sufficient. Too often, the upskilling of pedagogical approaches, technologies and programs that is urgently required in schools is stifled by under investment in education. It is no secret that keeping pace with rapidly changing technologies is expensive. However, our students of today and the future need access to the latest industry standard equipment and resources that is renewed and replaced in real time rather than three-, five- or 10-year schedules.
Professional development for teachers must be a priority. It is crucial that our teachers are continually equipped with the skills to deliver this constant change in education. Our students do not become innovators, collaborators and team players, and critical and creative thinkers, with high levels of social, personal and ICT skills through osmosis. These critical skills are developed and refined over time by highly skilled, resourced and supported teachers delivering cutting-edge pedagogical practices underpinned by research. The federal government has an inherent moral obligation to ensure every school, teacher and student across the country receive the funding and support to undertake this transformational journey together.
There’s the economics of creating the workforce of the future and there’s also the focus on developing the citizens our future country needs.
Schools strive to develop the whole child; intellectually, personally and socially. At the moment the under resourcing means we’re already very stretched.
I honestly believe schools are doing their best for our students with what they currently have, but I sit in my office and imagine what we could do if we were actually funded to the full amount of the Schooling Resource Standard.
It’s about creating the Australia we want for the future. Let’s invest in well-rounded citizens who are life-long learners. Our future global citizens, leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs who will guide the transition of our economy depends on this.”