Fears young Australians are not prepared for 21st century

Students at Rooty Hill High School in Sydney’s west are assessed on fundamental guidelines such as reading, writing and mathematics.

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But they’re also being introduced to the three C’s– curiosity, creativity and critical thinking.

Bianca is a Year 8 student– but she’s already learning subjects like medical science and computer technologies.

“When I get older I want to be like a primary school teacher so I will be using some of these skills to teach people in other generations. All the lessons we do are connecting so you’ll have a better understanding about it.”

But not everyone has been so lucky.

According to a report by Victoria University think -tank, the Mitchell Institute, Australian institutes are letting graduates down.

Co-author, Megan O’Connell says children feel like they don’t have the necessary skills to follow their chosen career path, or show employers what they’re capable of doing.

“The key take away is that young people are not faring very well through schools and as a result they are not transitioning on following tertiary eduction into the jobs of the future.”

The report found that in 2016– nearly 60 per cent of young people resorted to working for free in an attempt to advance their careers.

Around 70 per cent of bachelor graduates found full time employment in their field– along with just 30 per cent of vocational graduates.

Megan O’Connell says the report includes accounts from both educators and employers.

“What we found on boths sides of the fence is that young people aren’t prepared well enough they can’t necesarily collaborate with their peers, they can’t think creatively, don’t have critical thinking skills and don’t have the reslience to pick themselves up when something goes wrong.”

Rooty Hill High School Principal, Christine Cawsey, says including elements such as creativity and critical thinking in their assessments is essential.

“What we say is that if you develop skills in all those areas, if you are an active citizen, if you’re a confident and successful learner, if you understand your own capacities in literacy, numeracy, IT, creative and critical thinking – if you can have agency and understand yourself as a learner, you’ve got a much better shot in terms of being successful in the workforce.”

Professor Bill Lucas is a learning expert from Winchester University in southern England.

He says while Australia has formally recognised the need to assess things like the three C’s– political leadership is needed.

“This is a leadership moment. You have said this is what you want but now as politicians provide the leadership and the resources to make it happen.”