Prioritise capabilities or risk falling behind - Education Matters Magazine
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Prioritise capabilities or risk falling behind

The current education system isn’t doing enough to prepare students for success after school, according to the New Work Reality report, released as part of the New Work Order series by the Foundation for Young Australians.

It states that half of 25 year olds aren’t in full-time work, despite nearly 60 percent having a post-school qualification.

Mitchell Institute Director, Megan O’Connell, said the findings should act as a warning that Australia’s education system isn’t working for too many people.

“We can’t keep focusing on last century’s education milestones, it is not enough anymore to get good high school grades or even go on to further study and training,” said Ms O’Connell.

“The goal of a good education system should be to make sure every young person is on a positive pathway by their mid-20s, in meaningful employment and on a real trajectory for lifelong success.

“Careers education needs to start earlier than what we’re currently seeing. We can’t wait for students to reach tertiary education before they learn about what work they might want to explore.

“Students can start thinking about what they enjoy and what they are good at as early as primary school and learn about how they might contribute to different jobs. We also need better support for industry partnerships across all areas of education to strengthen capabilities that are needed for jobs.”

Ms O’Connell added that capabilities like curiosity, creativity, critical thinking and communication skills are essential for jobs and should be prioritised across all levels of education.

“If we don’t prioritise capabilities, we risk falling behind international education standards. Capabilities are not a new or novel concept, they have a long history in education systems around the world,” she said.

“We need young people to be able to recognise and talk about their abilities and talents, and assess themselves and others in different learning environments.”