AER 55 explores the goals of Australian education and of how schools should prepare young people for work and life. Section 1 provides an overview, discussing the nature of broad social and economic changes over the last 20 years, and their implications for the goals of Australian education systems today and for the future, and for what young people need to learn and why. Section 2 critically explores the assumptions which dominate current educational policies about the alignment of schooling with economic goals and work. Section 3 provides an analysis of the policy for social inclusion: the framing of educational goals that are oriented towards civic education, life skills and well-being. Developing curricula that equip young Australians for life involves confronting difficult questions about what kind of society Australia is now and should be in the future. Section 4 considers the nature of school knowledge and questions the learning outcomes traditionally measured. It argues that chronic inequalities experienced by some groups are the result of educational debts, accrued over time, through practices of social exclusion. National and international research indicates that addressing these inequalities will require different resourcing models and new teaching and learning approaches. Section 5 concludes that to prepare young Australians for the future, their education should be holistic and flexible, and encompass a commitment to learning for both work and life. In their ‘education for the future’ young people should be provided with opportunities to engage in learning that has meaning to them and in which they can exercise active participation and decision making.
Recommended CitationWyn, Johanna, "Touching the Future : Building skills for life and work" (2009).