There is more in us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less. Kurt Hahn

The summer break in education has now come and gone. Schools have re-opened around the nation, tertiary centres have also commenced their year, while many [if not all] in the early childhood sector have continued doing what they do throughout this period. At the same time the political side of education has been getting a lot of attention, as a number of elections are now getting closer and closer. With all this, there also seems to be a new enthusiasm for generating news about the education sector. Indeed it is getting difficult to try and include a representative selection of such headlines, and not because of the paucity of content being offered. Found among the information being put out there are the following.

  • A program titled Schools Cyber Security Challenges has been launched by the Australian Computing Academy at the University of Sydney [in partnership with a number of other groups]. Their Press Release on 19 February, gives a good overview of what is intended. One initial description - it is ‘a $1.35 million national program which will see cyber security taught to Years 7-10 students for the first time in Australia’.
  • The first of the challenges, Challenge #1, ‘introduces students to cyber security fundamentals and is now accessible by teachers and schools across the country’. There is a wealth of information available from the initial site listed above and covers inputs and support from a wide range of sectors. Be aware that ‘A national roadshow and professional workshops for teachers are to be scheduled through 2019. Send us an email to register your interest in attending an event in your nearest major centre’.
  • Reviews and Surveys also seem to be topics of the moment. The Australian Qualifications Framework Review, chaired by Professor Peter Noonan, ‘is holding Stakeholder consultation sessions in all capital cities and Albury-Wodonga and Townsville throughout February and early March 2019’. As this is the first review in this specific area for nearly a decade it will be interesting to see what results. However, you will need to wait till September for the review to be completed. If you are interested then you are encouraged to see how and where you can become a part of the process.
  • Meanwhile, a ‘newbie’ has appeared among the surveys. NCVER will launch ‘the first ever survey of Australia’s vocational education and training [VET] workforce’ in March. This ‘will provide a better picture of how many people are working in the VET sector to help with future planning and to better support the VET workforce’. Selected RTOs will be contacted soon to gain their participation. With all the turmoil currently being experienced in this area, any information gained should prove valuable. More information can be found on the The National VET Workforce Survey site.
  • If you watched the Child Genius Australia series on SBS in 2018, you may be interested in the following information. ‘If you are a family experiencing the joys and challenges of parenting a gifted child, we’d love to hear from you. We’re looking for young children aged between 7 and 12 to take part in a competition series that will celebrate the incredible talents of extraordinary children. National Auditions will be held - Late March to Mid April 2019’. You can find details and the application process on this page Not sure what it is all about ? You can get a taster of the program from 2018 by using this link.

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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.

Future Skills To adapt to the future of work, Australians will undertake a third more education and training and change what, when and how we learn. ‘This report helps Australians navigate the major shifts in the future of work by answering three critical questions : What skills do we need to succeed in the future ? When during our working lives will we need to learn these skills ? How can we adjust work and learning practices to acquire the skills we need ?’ Prepared by AlphaBeta for Google Australia.

Life at 23 : Then & Now ‘This infographic provides a snapshot of where 23-year-old Australians are at when it comes to their study, work, life at home and satisfaction with life. We compare the latest data from the LSAY 2009 commencing cohort, who were 23-years-old in 2017, with those that went before them 10 years earlier to understand how things have changed over time for young Australians making the transition into adulthood’. Created by The Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth.

National Review of Teacher Registration AITSL. Recent events have shown the variations in registration requirements for teachers across the states and territories. The review ‘17 recommendations that seek to provide a way forward to achieve a stronger teaching profession and better outcomes for children and young people across Australia’. What do you think of them and what impact do you believe they will have ?

Realising Potential Solving Australia’s tertiary education challenge. Among the most recent of reports and not emanating from an educational source. This Australian Industry Group report, from February this year, indicates ‘These are formidable challenges, but we can find solutions. We need to rise to the occasion for a comprehensive reconsideration of the state of tertiary education in Australia. This report identifies those challenges and will hopefully contribute to making our tertiary education system deliver better outcomes for the benefit of the community and the economy’. Whether you agree or not, it makes for interesting reading.

Separating Scholars How Australia abandons its struggling schools. Chris Bonnor always gets to the point in writing about areas needing to be opened up and discussed. In this, the third essay written as part of a ‘series entitled In a class of their own’, he indicates ‘The data suggests that achievement outcomes are becoming increasingly connected to the level of advantage of the school a student attends’. Worth finding the time to read and absorb.

Top 6 trends in higher education A January 2019 report from the Brookings institute. While American based, it covers movement in this area from around the world. Fittingly, it also provides a range of links to further information relevant to the various trends. You may or may not agree they are the top 6 trends, but there is certainly a good case for each to be addressed.

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