Australia’s future success depends on the ability of the education system to support every child and young person to realise their full learning potential, and to thrive in a competitive and innovative economy and a socially cohesive society.

The central tenets of “equity” and “excellence” in the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (Melbourne Declaration), coupled with a vision of students becoming “successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens”, are more crucial than ever (MCEETYA, 2008, p.8). 

The vision and aspirations of the Melbourne Declaration, as important as they are, have not been realised. To date, efforts towards education system improvement have not delivered the desired results. And the opportunities offered and outcomes achieved by Australia’s education system are far from fairly or evenly distributed (Lamb & Huo, 2017; O’Connell, Fox & Cole, 2016). This is not a shortcoming of the Melbourne Declaration and its vision, but rather a failure by Australia’s education systems to take appropriate actions.


Jen Jackson
Adjunct Associate Professor of Education Policy