An on stage conversation about #Education2030, with the Hon. James Merlino MP / Sholem Aleichem Business Breakfast

2015-09-08 07.55.17I was privileged to be asked back again this year to Sholem Aleichem Primary School’s Business Breakfast, this time to chat on stage with Victoria’s Minister for Education James Merlino about the Future of Education.

My ambition was to take him to 2030, the year in which his youngest child would finish school, and talk about the world of then and how we might educate towards it.

It’s always a tough gig trying to get a politician off their high political horse and “yes minister” responses and from the outset I must say I don’t know if I achieved it.

My first question was framed around a world of trying to educate today’s kids for a world of uncertainty, where in 2030 60% of the tasks that they will be doing are today unknown, in industries that haven’t yet been created, with a projection of 500,000 of today’s routine blue and white-collar jobs having disappeared.

His answer was encouraging, but not revolutionary.

He spoke, as do many, of better resourcing classrooms and teachers, of new technologies, of doing more and of having a curriculum that embraces the 3 C’s of communication, collaboration and creativity, but he did not speak of revolution.

We then took up the discussion of what role parents, industry and others should have in future education and the response was again one of acknowledgment that we need to form deeper relationships with each, in order to progress education, but it did not speak to the notion of it takes a village to educate tomorrow’s child.

This is not a criticism of the Minister. It is obvious he is passionate and is trying. It is a criticism of what we have done to our politicians.

The short natured approach that we have forced on them, our growing communal desire to solve complex problems with simple solutions and the need to have it all wrapped in one short succinct irrefutable statement has taken us down a road of short-term glib strategies that mask rather than resolve issues.

Education, like most other big issues, does not have a short-term solution, it is complex, long and forever changing.

Why don’t we value long-term anymore? Why don’t we allow our politicians and our decision makers to take exponential leaps? Why can’t we have another audacious Snowy Mountain type scheme that catapults us into the Future of Education?

Instead we prefer to sling motherhood statements at each other, of children being our future, education being tomorrow’s most important natural resource and innovation being central to Australia’s becoming the smart country.

I do rally hard against we adults scoring points to the detriment of today’s children.

They don’t vote. Their voices are not particularly loud and older generations have a tendency to pillory them for not knowing enough or being too obsessed with the fad of the day and believing that we know what is best for them – but these statements have been made of every older generation about the previous.

The big difference is that today’s generation needs us to make significant changes to our education system if they have any hope of making it in tomorrow’s world.

Our current education system is built on teaching known facts towards known outcomes and measuring our ability to understand them by a pass and fail test, but yet today we preach the need for creativity, state the world of tomorrow is based on uncertainty and speak of failure as a positive thing – these two worlds are incongruous and therefore so is much of our education system.

This is not a go at teachers, or politicians, but rather a go at we who hold too firmly to our old ideals.

We claim to wish the best for our children, but in reality we are smothering them with motherhood statements and outdated systems, curricula and pedagogues and drowning them in our fears of uncertainty and inadequacies.

We cannot and will not give our children what we claim to want to give them, if we continue to do what we’re doing now and merely tinker around the edges.

When parents are asked whether they would be willing to sacrifice themselves for their children’s invariably the majority answer yes, so let’s start sacrificing

Let’s be brave and demand of ourselves and our politicians a long-term commitment to education, where the short-term needs of today’s adults to keep their jobs doesn’t prejudice the brave and uncomfortable decisions we have to make if we are going to educate our children and give them the tools and abilities to create their world in 2030 and beyond.

So listen in to our on stage chat (14 minutes 52 seconds) about Education 2030 and then join us on the road to an Education revolution.

@JamesMerlinoMP; @MrFuture; #futureeducation; #education2030;

Eye on the Future - Sep 8, 2015 | All, education, People, Social, Work
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