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Andrews: We’ll make Victoria the Education State

Daniel Andrews

With one month until the Victorian state election both parties have been hot on the campaign trail attempting to entice voters with education reforms.

Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews announced this week the Victorian Labor Government will reintroduce Tech Schools and boost the state’s TAFE system with a $320 million cash injection.

Labor’s ‘TAFE Rescue Fund’ will reopen closed campuses, bailout institutes at risk of financial ruin, and upgrade TAFE buildings across the state, with the proposed funds flowing as an emergency measure as early as day one of government.

“Our TAFE Rescue Fund will re-open campuses that closed, bail out campuses in strife, and upgrade labs, workshops, buildings and classrooms across our state,” Andrews said at Labor’s campaign launch. “We’ll make sure the system survives next year – but we also want to make sure it survives the next decade.”

Andrews said a Victorian Labor Government will also invest $125 million to establish 10 regional Tech Schools across the state that will focus on local industries and be open for students in Years 7 to 12.

“Students who enrol in the regional Tech will also stay enrolled in the local secondary school,” he said. “They’ll spend a set period of time every month getting their technical education alongside their secondary studies – not in place of a comprehensive education, but as part of it.”

Meanwhile Victorian Premier Denis Napthine said a re-elected Coalition would ­provide $3750 to each of the state’s 391 public secondary schools to buy 3D printers.

 

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Hume Libraries achieve eSmart Status

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On Friday 19 September, The Alannah and Madeline Foundation and the Telstra Foundation joined Hume City Council in celebrating Hume Libraries as the first public library service to complete the eSmart Libraries program and achieve eSmart Status.

eSmart Libraries is a cybersafety program helping libraries equip their staff and users with the necessary information to use technology in a smart, safe and responsible way.

Over one-third of all libraries in Australia are currently involved in the program, helping safeguard communities against online risks, and embrace the benefits of technology.

“Being eSmart means knowing how to guard against security and privacy risks online, download content in a legal and ethical way, research and reference information, and manage reputation and relationships in cyberspace,”  Dr Judith Slocombe, CEO of The Alannah and Madeline Foundation, said.

“The system was launched in schools and we are very proud of the fact that over one in five schools across Australia are currently completing their eSmart journey, which is equipping them with the resources and knowledge to create a school culture that embraces the positives of the ever-changing digital world.”

eSmart Libraries was launched in 2012 by former Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard. Thanks to an $8 million, multi-year partnership with the Telstra Foundation, it will be offered to 1,500 public libraries in Australia over the next five years.

“We are very lucky to have a partner such as Telstra, who has recognised that libraries are a key access point to technology for many Australians and has made an enormous contribution to support us to get the message out to every library in Australia,” Dr Slocombe said.

Telstra Foundation’s National Manager Jackie Coates said Telstra was thrilled to celebrate Australia’s first eSmart Library.

“With almost half the Australian population being members of their local library, and over 110 million library visits each year, we know that libraries play a vital role in bridging the digital divide, connecting communities to the online world and reaching out to some of the most disadvantaged members of our society,” she said.

In November 2011, The Alannah and Madeline Foundation’s International Patron, Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, visited Hume Library Service to announce the Foundation’s intent to take its successful eSmart program beyond the schoolyard and into the broader community for the first time.

“By making the online library experience safer for everyone, eSmart Libraries will give more Australians the opportunity to experience the social and economic benefits of new digital technologies,” Coates said.

Frank McGuire, Victorian Member for Broadmeadows and a long-term supporter of the Hume community’s vision for lifelong learning, said attaining eSmart status was just one of many accolades the library service has achieved this year.

“eSmart is crucial because it is teaching our children, our most precious, but most vulnerable citizens, how to make the most of technology and how to be safe,” McGuire said.

“It is fantastic to see Hume – a library service which has Australia’s first multiversity and was recently crowned the world’s best library – being recognised as the first in the country to receive eSmart status.”

Hume Libraries celebrated the achievement of becoming Australia’s first eSmart library with a number of activity hubs, providing users with free advice on setting up their own electronic devices, and access to leading cyber-safety experts who provided adviceon how to stay safe online.

More information regarding the eSmart Libraries program can be found at www.esmartlibraries.org.au. For more information regarding eSmart Schools visit www.esmartschools.org.au.