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Melbourne Declaration – the ALL submission

Since the late eighties, Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments have made successive declarations defining their shared vision for school education in Australia.

The most recent, the Melbourne Declaration agreed by Education Council Ministers in 2008, articulated nationally consistent education goals for young Australians. A decade on, and the Education Council Ministers is reviewing the declaration. The Australian Learning Lecture was one of over 130 organisations who made a submission to the review. 

Our submission emphasises that the landscape has shifted considerably, with the emphasis now on the need for all young people to be lifelong learners. We have called for a reshaping of the declaration to make clear that the safest option we have for our young people is to educate them to learn, unlearn and relearn in our fast-changing world, and that we need forces in and beyond school to assist, not hamper, the many opportunities.

We also call for a national discussion about what is meant by ‘excellence.’ Our submission points out that being excellent ought not to be confined to measuring numeracy and literacy. There are now additional skills and capabilities that are accepted internationally as the foundations of education for every child.

Our submission points out that while skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking are already within the Australian curriculum, they are not being implemented at scale or in sufficient depth. This is in direct contrast to Singapore, Canada, Hong Kong, and Japan. Australia’s current narrow measures of student worth and achievement are constantly undermining the purpose of education, and certainly do not press the point of the importance of lifelong learning.

Our expectations are that the new national declaration will strengthen the understanding that young Australians’ future success is dependent on their know-how to navigate and become globally competent in a rapidly changing world; encourage new approaches to education in Australia, including creating and sharing powerful practices and tools which make us all great learners; promote the importance of cross cultural and intercultural understanding, empathy and collaboration; and promote the importance of individual interest and passion in learning.

We ask: “If passion is so important in life and work, why is it not valued more in schools?”

Our submission can be found here: http://www.all-learning.org.au/blog/all-makes-submission-review-melbourne-declaration

Image credit: 

Andy Drewitt