Flexible learning key to a true Education State

Researchers from The Victoria Institute believe the creation of educational opportunities for the most disenfranchised young people in the community should be a primary consideration, as Victoria contemplates how it will become the Education State.

In 2014, the current Victorian Government announced its commitment to turn Victoria into the Education State. A consultation paper was subsequently released, by the Government, to give the Victorian community the opportunity to contribute and provide feedback about what the Education State means to them.

In response, Associate Professor Kitty te Riele and Dr Vicky Plows (The Victoria Institute) with Louisa Ellum (Flexible Learning and Careers Association and CEO of BGK LLEN) recently hosted a conversation with key stakeholders from Victoria’s flexible and inclusive learning sector to discuss the topic further.

Associate Professor te Riele said the consultation paper provided a timely opportunity to consider what an Education State will look and feel like.

“Everyone in our conversation agreed that for every student to have the best start in life, we have to value diversity in learners and in educational provision. Inclusivity, respect and relationships should lie at the heart of any vision for an Education State that provides access to education for all,” she said.

The event, held at The Victoria Institute, had numerous knowledgeable parties in attendance, encompassing a range of views from across the flexible learning sector. This contributed to a lively debate around three key topics:

  • How do you achieve this vision of the Education State and what kind of indicators of success should be valued?
  • Which policies and practices will support educators and society to meet the needs of all young people?
  • How can partnerships help and which roles should different stakeholders, ideally, fulfil in a bid to move towards a more inclusive education system.

Several key suggestions emerged, as Dr Plows explained.

“The Education State can’t be a ‘one size fits all’. Rather than talking about the ‘mainstream’ and ‘others’ such as flexible learning programs, this requires a whole system that is inclusive and where diversity is valued,” she said.

“Ultimately we would like to see that the young people we all work with in our research and practice, who are often disenfranchised and marginalised from education and society, have a genuine choice of where and how to engage with learning.”

Kitty, Vicky and Louisa will submit the collated ideas to the Education State consultation on behalf of the group. Insights from this crucial part of the Victorian education landscape offer an important perspective of what an Education State that works for marginalised young people might look like.

For more information contact:

Associate Professor Kitty te Riele: [email protected]

Dr Vicky Plows: [email protected]

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