Education Review Lacks Lifelong Learning
Lifelong learning is one of the best insurance policies against this changing world of work, and also a key factor in helping kids succeed. In its submission to the Australian Government’s Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education (IRRRRE), the RAI highlighted the concern that this process will miss out on one of the most important challenges for regional education and regional economies.
The evidence continues to mount that the concept of a one-time education completed early on in life is fast becoming obsolete. A student today is more likely to experience a “portfolio career” with potentially up to 17 different jobs over 5 careers.
For people already in the workforce or about to enter it, the need to change jobs as job automation increases or continue to find ways to work into their 60’s and 70’s as life expectancy increases, will make continual engagement in some form of education essential for regional Australians.
In the future employability will be less about what you already know and more about your capacity to learn.
At the moment, it is not clear that our education system in regions is well prepared to deal with these changes, particularly given the severe disruption to vocational education systems by recent reforms and the ongoing focus on qualifications rather than a lifetime of skills. Slightly better school results in regions won’t help kids who can’t also seamlessly access the education they need to navigate a diverse and disrupted career.
Currently the review highlights a range of structural issues ranging from curriculum to local leadership, however issues like post school education, the transition from school to work, and lifelong learning are inadequately considered. The discussion paper’s focus almost exclusively on issues surrounding schooling and the transition from high school to higher education is a serious shortcoming.
In response to the discussion paper, the RAI has submitted a range of key recommendations for the review.
We have recommended the scope be expanded to issues beyond schooling, including setting a goal for continual engagement of all regional Australians in some form of education or skills training.
For regional kids, the RAI has recommended the review provide strategies to incorporate an entrepreneurial approach to education to ensure kids are set up for success in a constantly changing work environment.