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April 18: Education

April 18: Education

By Leaders Forum 2018 participant Donna Saunders

WHITNEY Houston sang about it in the 80s “the children are our future” Of course this is true, it is part of the evolution of life. “Teach them well and let them lead the way...” Our children will grow into adults and live their own dreams, they’ll work in the communities they grew up in and build an improved world where they can continue their own journey through – hold your imaginary Simba above your head and sing – “the circle of life.” How will the school curriculum encompass academic learning, nurture our children’s growth and development, contribute to their wellbeing and mental health and ensure they capitalise on their creativity and skills to gain future employment?

Innovative schools like Berry Street and Yuille Park Community College take a holistic approach, with a philosophy of positive education. Flexible and authentic learning experiences tailored to individual skills and interests expose students to what is possible and how to creatively utilise and develop their skills. Education is a collective responsibility and requires parental input and community support. Children will be more receptive to learning with displays of interest and encouragement. With shared values like empathy, belonging, respect and effort, the school curriculum requires a community focus, bringing together the importance of resilience and self-reliance, improving emotional intelligence, happiness and health and wellbeing of students, families and the broader community.

Mike D wasn’t just referring to good grades when the Beastie Boys released Skills to Pay the Bills. Creativity, social capital and networking are important parts of gaining employment. Diversity of talent, ability and flexible skills provide lucrative employment for the individual and profitable human resources for industry and business success. Social and environmental factors dictate how we access and are receptive to education and job opportunities. Diverse learning experiences provide necessary networking opportunities and an encouraging space to explore individual capabilities; they allow for the building of pathways for employment, not just a focus on further education.

Tech schools have partnered with several schools across the state of Victoria offering STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) programs utilising shared facilities and resources. An initiative for business and industry partners, participation provides an opportunity to harness talent and creativity from educational institutions and explore technological developments with industry experts. Shared outcomes and learning experiences will inform the jobs of the future, build community connections and contribute to a place where people can work together to shape prosperous, sustainable businesses. Technology is fast-paced and perpetual, school curriculums require innovative ways to harness the younger generation’s abilities to flexibly manage information and use technology.

“Love and understanding, positivity” Ed Sheeran’s lyrics lament for a positive future where individual skills and abilities are cultivated. An investment in integrating technology with industry and business also means an investment in guiding future generations to lead the way. They will employ technological developments that are evolving at an ever-increasing pace, meaningfully connect with communities and support each other to thrive in an environment where positive education is obtainable. They will understand how to best harness capabilities to inform an optimistic and prosperous future.