A Compelling Message from Australia's Educators

2018 marks the 10-year anniversary of the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians.
Australian educators have been committed to:

  • Goal 1: Australian schooling promotes equity and excellence
  • Goal 2: All young Australians become - successful learners; confident and creative individuals; and active and
    informed citizens

These Goals remain as powerful and as relevant in 2018 as they were in 2008. Indeed, they have been adopted by other jurisdictions in the intervening period, just as Australia was informed by a number of leading education systems in crafting these goals in 2008.

Apparent to us, as the nation’s educators, is that achieving the Goals is unfinished business. We would all agree that we need to refocus our efforts, and our shared commitment, to advance these Goals in the interests of the public good and every young Australian.

The forces of change in the past decade impacting on our education system have been immense, and the next decade will bring heightened levels of complexity and uncertainty. Our learning systems (from early learning and schooling to further and higher education) will need to continue to adapt, to our local, national and global environments. We need to ensure that all young Australians develop the knowledge, skills and dispositions that will enable them to thrive, to be agents of change, and to genuinely experience wellbeing.

It is clear that the ‘why’, the ‘what’, the ‘how’ and the ‘where’ of learning are the central challenges for our communities, our economy, our environment and our society – local, national and global. In the Australian context, equally applicable across the globe, the challenges faced by young Australians associated with indigeneity, inclusivity, and diversity are brought into sharp relief as we experience disruptive technology in the fourth industrial age, the rise of artificial intelligence, robotics and a new world of work. In this environment it is clear that a focus on
equity and support for those young people at most risk is crucial.

The Teaching Profession, first and foremost, is acutely aware of the special responsibility we have for creating learning environments that are fit for purpose, supported by enabling conditions provided by government. We need the support of key stakeholders, public awareness and political commitment - learning is everybody’s business.

The challenge is to put this national endeavour front and centre. To collaborate on shared national educational goals, is both compelling and urgent. This is why we as the 7-peak professional educational bodies, identified below, have agreed to commit ourselves to refocusing on the Melbourne Declaration. We seek to do so with and through AESOC and the Ministerial Council.

We are all acutely aware of the significance of decision making at a national level over the coming months, as the process and nature of new National Partnership Agreements are realised. An inclusive national conversation around agreed Educational Goals for Young Australians is vital. Educators, young people, their families and their communities, will be key contributors to this genuine national consultative process – as will politicians, the business sector, the not-for-profit sector, foundations, the media, and civil society.

We look forward to the opportunity to determine the most productive way to undertake this shared work over the coming months. This Message is intended to send a strong signal that the Teaching Profession is both willing and able to play a central role in refocusing our efforts and reactivating our commitment to empowering educational goals for all young Australians.

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