The review of the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians has provided NSW independent schools the opportunity to reinforce and communicate the priorities it views as critical for successful schooling in Australia over the next decade.
AISNSW and the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA NSW/ACT) have made a joint submission to the national Review of the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians, which was informed by strong consultation across the independent schools sector.
The review required that the two following goals be considered:
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.
In the submission, the two associations state the two broad goals have stood the test of time and continue to provide clarity for schools, systems and governments on the overarching purpose of schooling.
AISNSW and AHISA provided a number of recommendations within the submission to ensure the Declaration remains aspirational and relevant to school communities for the next decade.
The submission includes an overview of the independent schools sector, highlighting its rapid enrolment growth over the past five years along with the diversity of schools in size and ethos.
The submission acknowledges the value of a national declaration stating it is 'a powerful statement on the role of education as a universal social good. Devoid of politics and agendas, while recognising diversity of context, the sector-blind approach with a clear articulation of the collective responsibility of the goals is an important element of the Declaration that should be preserved'.
In looking forward, the submission states the Declaration will need to be equally relevant to future students as it is those now at school.
'For students starting school in 2020, the new Declaration will shape the direction of 10 of their 13 years of schooling. It will complete the education of the tail end of Generation Z (1995-2009), and also inform the education of Generation Alpha (2009→), who have not been part of a world without the iPad, Instagram or Facetime.'
The submission places emphasis on the continued acceleration of social, technological change and that 'schools need the capacity to be agile as an education ecosystem to respond. As a consequence, any national Declaration needs to uphold diversity and recognise that every student, every school, every sector, every state is different, and allow for flexibility at each of those levels'.
Ultimately, the submission suggests that the 'intrinsic value of schooling is the development and growth of well-rounded, good people who are capable of making a worthwhile contribution to the community.
'This should be emphasised throughout the revised Declaration.'