A reason for ALL
ALL was established in 2015 as a ten-year project to bring big ideas around learning and education to national attention. The acronym, ALL, is a deliberate choice. We believe that learning is a matter not for the schooling community alone. It is for the whole community.
It is also central to our belief that ALL children need to leave school as confident, equipped and passionate learners. That is every single one. All children have individual talents and interests that are the key to their contribution not only to the new, emerging economy and to society but most of all to their personal fulfilment in life and work.
You might ask why is ALL necessary? We started to notice that in Australia our public discussion of education and learning focuses almost exclusively on test scores, funding issues, school sectors, ranking of universities and conflict between the federal and state governments. Rarely, if ever, is there a public focus on exciting new developments in education. Rarely is there a discussion of the core purposes of education and what we as a country are seeking to achieve and value.
We find it deeply concerning when for the past decade, certain trends have become irrefutable. These include the facts that Australia has been slipping backwards in international achievement. We are the only country to do so. This includes the top 40% of students. Our gap between schools is one of the most pronounced in the world and continues to widen. The economy is changing and our businesses are not keeping up. Rated poorly comparatively on innovation, capacity for risk and strong leadership. Nearly two-thirds of the jobs students are training for will not be there in the future, and more than a quarter of our young people 26% are experiencing mental health issues.
Clearly significant change is needed as more of the same is not working.
Just because ideas are not being discussed in the public realm does not mean there are no ideas in play. There always are ideas operating. They influence the way we act and the way we judge ourselves the way we construct systems and institutions.
ALL is structured around a biennial lecture delivered every two years that presents a big idea given by a leading thinker. Between lectures we hold seminars and roundtables, and develop case studies in our bid to generate discussion of that big idea and point to the living examples of the idea in action.
The Australian Learning Lecture is a partnership between Koshland Innovation Fund and State Library Victoria.