If I reflect on my own education (filled with hardcopy textbooks and pencil cases) and fast forward to where we are now, I can say with certainty that the education landscape continues to change rapidly.
Fuelled by changes in the broader economy such as technology and innovation demographics shifts and differences in community values and expectations, there are important steps the education sector can take to significantly contribute to a 2027 vision for Queensland’s future.
As our Confidently Queensland report emphasised, the education and training sector in Queensland is highly diversified, geographically dispersed and plays a critical role in driving employment and social outcomes in every single Queensland community.
It also lays the foundation for the skills, qualifications and training needed to deliver our 2027 vision of liveable communities, a diversified economy and inclusive growth.
As we head towards our vision of a prosperous, vibrant and cutting-edge Queensland in 2027, there are four fundamental factors for all educators and institutions to drive.
First factor: Encouraging inclusivity, engagement and academic achievement
Education systems are increasingly recognising the imperative to strengthen their focus on engagement and inclusion. Achieving this rests on asking a fundamental question:
How do we ensure an inclusive environment, at all levels of the education system, which supports learners to achieve strong academic, social and employment outcomes, given their individual learning needs?
For good reasons, education system incentives focus heavily on academic achievement. However, among the implication of this focus is that, without the right supports and safeguards, there is a risk that learners at the margins face a reduced set of choices and pathways with greater constraints.
We need education system settings that focus holistically on balancing engagement and achievement outcomes simultaneously – and that recognise the complementarity that exists across these two pursuits.
Encouragingly, most jurisdictions are pursuing reforms geared toward achieving greater inclusivity and better outcomes for all students– particularly, considering ways in which systems can be better equipped to respond to the learning needs of students with disabilities. Education for all ultimately leads to better opportunities for meaningful economic engagement.
Second factor: Establishing skills for today and tomorrow
In today’s competitive environment there is often an expectation across all areas of life and work to do more and achieve more. This has a direct impact – we all need to be equipped to navigate the challenges of today while being ready for the opportunities and rapidly changing landscape of tomorrow.
We need to ask ourselves:
What are the foundational skills that someone will need to be successful in the future and what do those actual skills and technical competencies look like?
The reality is we may not know what the future brings, other than uncertainty. But at all levels of the education system we need to turn our attention to prepare for a higher degree of uncertainty than ever before.
We need to ensure that we are being sufficiently nimble and responsive to the changing nature of work. It’s about focusing on what skills are going to be needed by the workforce of tomorrow, to the extent that we know them, and creating an education system that delivers those skills and training as and when they are needed throughout the course of a career.
Third factor: A push for more robust technology insights
Technology plays a powerful role across education but further insights are required in order to unleash its potential. For example, when it comes to the practical use of iPads in the classroom, should it be teacher or student-led? In essence, the question is how does technology actually interface with pedagogy and are some approaches more effective than others?
Innovation and technology will continue to play a critical role in greater connectivity across education networks and better service delivery educational systems. When it comes to our regional footprint, it’s important that services and tools cast a net far and wide, in order that these locations receive equitable support and assistance.
Fourth factor: Empowering the entire sector
Across all our levels of the education sector, the system needs to be empowered and provided with certainty. With a move to needsbased and outcomes based funding, the sector needs to grapple with how best to ensure stability and confidence in the future.
This is particularly true in the linkages between the areas of education – across early childhood, schooling, higher education, vocational education and training (VET) and international education. We need to share best practice and work together to ensure that innovation and transformation are at the heart of all our programs. From policy makers to teachers, students to trainers, we all have an important role to play in ensuring that the system works as one .
Are you ready to help shape future education in Queensland? Download Confidently Queensland to find out more about our vision and the economic dividend at stake.