Shergold review points to paths more travelled

State and federal education ministers commissioned Peter Shergold and colleagues to propose new pathways to post-school education and training

They set out what they were likely to conclude in context setting papers (CMM September 23 2019) and now they have delivered proposals designed to deliver eight outcomes which include.

The foundation for their expansive and ambitious ideas is that the Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank isn’t everything.

“The heavy focus on scholastic performance is seen by students to pay too little regard to the other skills and attributes that they require for successful adulthood. The general characteristics of students need to be given greater weight in the final years at school. The ATAR should be regarded as just one important measure of success. We need to educate for and assess the diverse learnings that make the whole person. We need to open doors, not narrow pathways.”

Core proposals are;

* secondary schooling to provide: universal foundation skills, “work exploration,” “learning areas selected by students” and personal growth

* “E Learner profiles:” recording student achievements in, and out of, school. The ATAR will likely, “continue to play a role in university selection processes, although many education providers now wish to also assess a student’s performance in a range of subject disciplines. But this ranking score will increasingly be enhanced by a greater recognition of the value of the broader set of skills, capabilities and experience that a student has gained by the time they leave school.”

* respect for all pathways: “While higher education will remain an aspiration for many young people, academic pathways will no longer enjoy more privileged access to school resources than apprenticeships, traineeships or other forms of vocational education and training.”

* career guidance: “coordinated and overseen” by the federal government’s new work-information provider, the National Careers Institute.

* strong school-industry partnerships: “Industry-led organisations will provide a focal point for engagement between industry and education, providing up-to-date advice on skills needs. They will collaborate in developing and adapting qualifications in a fast and flexible manner.”

* education passports: a working-life record of achievements starting at school, to, “assist individuals to communicate their qualifications, learnings and experience as they move between pathways and change career directions”

* Genuine” equality of opportunity: “Accessible alternative education settings and innovative flexible learning approaches  … to ensure that vulnerable and at-risk students can benefit from education settings and approaches that are tailored to their individual interests and goals”

* Evidence-based policy: based on “nationally consistent data collection arrangements”


While the report has to go to education minco, Commonwealth minister Dan Tehan says, its recommendations, “worked in conjunction with the government’s plans to improve higher education and vocational education and training.”