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The Continuous Changing Contexts and Directions of Australian Education.

This looks at the continuous change of education which is influenced by factors such as politics and social changes.
by

Maryam Sulaiman

on 2 October 2012

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Transcript of The Continuous Changing Contexts and Directions of Australian Education.

Changing Context in Australian Education Education in Australia will continuously change according to
factors that influences it like social and political change Just like everything in life,
change is inevitable and the state of education in Australia is no different. Lets look at the history first. . . From looking at the photos on the left we can see that the structure of what a school looks like has evolved from the initial days where schools where setup anywhere ranging from churches to barns. They are now a more formal structural buildings that can meet the requirements of large number of students. Ironically though the classrooms itself has many concepts that we still see in common schools around Australia. Lets look at some of these similar concepts. . .

Think of a typical classroom and how its structured. Spot any similarities? There are many similarities between these photos. The most prominent is the setup of desks and the students all facing the front where the teacher usually stands. But in recent times, a few schools around Australia are changing this style of classrooms to a more open and inviting learning space that will encourage independent learning and remove the idea that classes should all be setup like the stereotypical classroom we know. Does it look anything like the classrooms below? The Social Context We are continuously influenced by social factors like family, friends and social media in everyday aspects of our lives. It is these factors that sometimes help determine the lifestyle that we choose to live in. Social factors play big role in how education is perceived, importance it holds in life and how it is structured in today's society. Choosing the type of school All the schools in Australia must follow strict curriculum guidelines set out by the government but Australians are able to choose where to send their children for education depending on what values they deem are important. There are two types of schools offered in Australia which are public and private. Private school can be further divided into Catholic and non-Catholic schools.

Private schools have been around for many years especially in the period between 1870s and 1890s where majority of students attended this type of school. In later years public schools where formed and it was now common for parents to send their children to this type of schooling. By attending public school student’s eyes were now open to culturally diverse society in which they live in. As public schools did not discriminate against anyone, it became a symbol of democracy as every student had an equal opportunities to achieve the best possible outcome they could. Recent studies have shown that 66% of Australian students attend public schools while the remainder attends either a Catholic or independent school. Many factors are taken into consideration by parents when deciding which school to send their child to. Some of these factors include social status, wealth/economy, state of the schools in surrounding areas, beliefs, culture, how important education is to them and many others. One big factor that could also play a part in decision making when choosing a school for your child is how well the school performs in terms of NAPLAN and VCE results. The big advantage of private schools is the extra funding they have that the public schools do not. This extra funding gives more opportunities for students such as better resources and technology. But some public schools in Victoria are working to give students in low socioeconomic backgrounds those same types of opportunities. Political and Economical Context Politics plays a big role on the current position of education in Australia. With changing government come different attitudes and policies towards education which can have both a positive and negative impact. In recent years, the two dominant political parties in Australia (Labor and Liberal) have both shaped the way education is today.

The Labor government which currently holds power in Australia have set out new reforms that it hopes will improve the quality of Australian schools and the high potential of students it produces so that these results will have a positive impact on the economy. The government aims to improve the quality of education so that it can compete with other parts of the world like close Asian countries Korea and Singapore. As each state has its own government, it too plays an impact on the education in its state. The economy will have an impact in education as it is closely related to how the policies of the governing parties determine the budget for schools. Some of the recent reforms by the current federal and state government include:

• Building the Education Revolution program:
This aims to improve the infrastructure of schools around Australia by spending $16.2 billion. This will add a boost to the economy of Australia as it introduces new jobs for people.
• National Curriculum:
This is to emphasis that all students and schools are equal and each student is receiving the same education.
• Local Solutions Year 12 Retention Fund:
Extra funding for rural and regional schools to support senior students.

These are a few among the many reforms set out by government to enhance schools and give Australian education a competitive edge when comparing with other countries. Now lets talk about . . . With the Australian dollar doing so well overseas, our economy is doing well and with a thriving economy it is possible to spend more on Education. Recent findings by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found the number of teachers has increased by 17% in the period between 2001 and 2011. With extra funding schools can employ more teachers, obtain better resources and technologies and provide better buildings and infrastructure to its students. There are even scholarships that are offered to teachers and new graduates as an incentive to encourage a career in education. BUT is the funding enough and the money spent right? According to the Gonski report there must be a change to the way $ is spent. Global Context Industrial Context As the manufacturing industry decreases other industries in Australia are expected to increase such as online information services, veterinary services and biotechnology to name a few (Australian Anthill, 2010). All these industries depend on education and technology to become successful and require their employees to have a comprehensive education that covers a range of skills. This puts pressure on the Australian school education to continuously change to meet the requirements of the new emerging industries and to give the future Australians a competitive edge so that Australia can be in the forefront of these industries. We seem to continuously hear these days the closure of manufacturing companies and the forced redundancies of many Australian workers. There are many factors that have caused this slow turn in the manufacturing industry such as the high Australian dollar and low demand in products (Balinski, 2012). Philosophical Context Many different philosophies and theories about education has been researched and developed over many centuries by varying educational researchers. All these researchers have contributed to how Australian school education is conducted through the teachers who have used their theories and philosophies to build their own framework of philosophies and theories on education. It is very important as a teacher to have a philosophy on education because it is the backbone of how you approach teaching and your understanding of what teaching and education is. Different Philosophies of Education Idealism Realism Pragmatism (experimentalism) Existentialism Postmodernism Australia is a very popular country globally and after WWII over 7.2 million people migrated to Australia. Australia is still one of the most popular countries in terms of migration and it’s this factor that makes Australia such a culturally diverse country and why you see so many different cultures in schools. This gives a global feel to the school yard where students from different backgrounds can mix together and learn from each other. We as teachers must be able to identify the different cultures and find a way to unite these different cultures in the classroom so that all students will have equal opportunities.







Another important part of globalization in Australian education is the accessibility to any part of the world using technology. More and more schools are using technology in every classroom and this gives opportunities for students to enhance their learning. It gives students the ability to independently explore and understand what they are learning and also gives teachers a way to present information that might be considered boring in a fun and exciting way.
.. Future of Education Ideally the future of education will show a progress towards all sectors of schools having the same funding and opportunities for all students. This can be done by public schools improving their infrastructure and the academic opportunities they provide their students. An example could be the implantation of open learning space where it encourages students to work independently and in groups. This removes the traditional idea that the learning must be teacher oriented and gives students the responsibility of learning. This can be possible especially with government spending some of the budget on infrastructure. Ideally the government must take into account the Gonski report so that it can improve the current education in schools and give students the best possible advantage for the future. Certain points like an overall decrease in students performance must be addressed. These problems can be solved by looking at where the students are under performing and determining ways to improve theses results. This could be by using technology to aid students understanding I believe education will continue to utilize technology to provide students with the best possible ways of presenting information and will able to connect students globally and able to access resources that ten years ago might not have been possible. A great example of governments using technology as learning tool is NSW where it is spending money on improving technology. References Australian Government. Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Fact Sheet 2 – Key Facts about Immigration. Retrieved from http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/02key.htm#e

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