Without doubt, future proofing has been the buzz term of 2017.
A simple Google search reveals plans to future proof almost every industry, but are we doing enough to future proof the teaching profession, so educators and their students are prepared for tomorrow’s challenges?
As an absolute minimum, education authorities must prioritise additional teacher training and professional development so Australian students remain competitive on the global stage.
A recent survey conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) revealed Australia is ranked 39 out of 41 high and middle-income counties in achieving a quality education.
The startling report found Australia is falling behind in basic measures of teaching and learning and is a long way off the benchmark being set by Finland, Denmark and Norway.
The UNICEF study revealed Scandinavian countries are moving away from a set curriculum, instead embracing experimentation and discovery in their learning and shorter school days with a greater emphasis on extra-curricular activities.
By contrast, Australia’s eight states and territories are in the final years of adopting a national set of competencies (referred to as general capabilities), which include Literacy; Numeracy; Information and Communication Technology Capability; Critical and Creative Thinking; Personal and Social Capability; Ethical Understanding and Intercultural Understanding.
However, should there be more educational experimentation and flexibility in Australian classrooms, especially when students are teachers are grappling with the uncertain impact of globalisation, technological advances, the evolution of media and communication, greater insight into mental health and changing environmental and social factors?
As an absolute minimum, local educators must be offered greater support and training so they possess the best possible skills and expertise to teach Australia’s nation set of competencies.
That’s why I’m calling on the Minister for Education and Training, Hon. Simon Birmingham and his state and territory counterparts to commit additional resources and funding to teacher training and professional development.
It’s time we prioritised additional education for our educators and future proofed our teachers, so they remain nimble and agile and prepared to take on the challenges of tomorrow, whatever they may be.
Chief Executive Officer
Australian College of Educators