Independent education policy think tank, Mitchell Institute at Victoria University, said the latest report by Foundation for Young Australians strengthens calls to transform education in Australia.

Mitchell Institute Director, Megan O’Connell explained that The New Work Smarts report adds to mounting evidence for capabilities like critical thinking, creativity and collaboration to be prioritised in education.

“It is becoming more and more difficult for young Australians to find meaningful jobs and today’s findings show that without bold education changes, this will only worsen in the future,” Ms O’Connell said.

“Traditional knowledge and job-specific skills alone are not enough to thrive in a global workforce that experiences constant change.

“Most jobs already require a considerable amount of communication, collaboration, problem-solving and emotional skills, and today’s report suggests these will become even more important in the future.”

Ms O’Connell said Australia is well placed to lead the way in incorporating capabilities in education, with Victoria one of the first places in the world to introduce formal assessment of capabilities.

“Mitchell Institute is working with the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority and international experts to learn how to best teach and assess capabilities in schools,” Ms O’Connell said.

“The evidence for prioritising capabilities in education is clear, the groundwork for how to do this is underway right here in Australia, and we have a growing number of voices calling for this on a broader scale – including FYA today.

“We have a real opportunity to build on the momentum we are experiencing now and lift our education system out of the manufacturing era to give young people the best chance of success.”

Ms O’Connell said when considering bold education changes, it is important to look at the whole system – from preschool, through schooling, into vocational education and university, and even beyond.

“High quality early education can set foundations for children to learn important capabilities all throughout their learning journeys and bring enterprise skills to the workforce,” Ms O’Connell said.

“Debate about whether capabilities are worthwhile and can be taught is over – it is time to boost efforts in how to teach and assess them.

“Perhaps a question parents, educators and policy makers need to ask when reading today’s findings is: are students learning the right things to flourish in ten years’ time?”

More information about Mitchell Institute’s work on reforming education is available online at Mitchell Institute ENDS