The Real Future of Australian Education
20 Jul 2018
The effects of the changing job climate and rapid technological advancement are evident across all areas of society and education is no exception. Increasingly, Aussies are concerned about whether the current school curriculum is equipping children with the skills and knowledge needed for the future. And, whether entering primary school for the first time or taking up tertiary study, parents want the best for their children.
The Real Insurance Future of Australian Education Survey is the twelfth instalment in a series of national studies that investigate the shifting values and concerns affecting Australian families. This chapter offers particular insight into how well children are being educated and equipped for the future workplace.
Division on technology
The role of technology in the workplace of the future is a divisive topic, particularly when factoring in the uncertainty around how it will evolve and the implications for future generations. With many concerned, the large majority cite the dehumanisation of the workplace (71.4%), uncertainty about the kinds of jobs that will be available (71.3%) and the lack of job security (70.4%) as chief amongst their worries.
And, the uneasiness doesn’t stop there with 53.9 per cent believing that technology will decrease employment opportunities in Australia over the next ten years. So how can we better prepare our young to face the ever-changing climate of what will become the Australian workplace? The answer may lie in education, and more specifically, the need to get it right.
Relevance of tertiary education
The ongoing evolution of the Australian workplace has parents re-evaluating the importance of tertiary education in the career paths of their children.
Although it is common practice to attend university or TAFE to enhance job eligibility, there is a fairly even divide when it comes to the topic of relevance. With just over half (50.9%) of university and TAFE-educated respondents saying their current job is directly related to their area of study and a similar proportion (49.1%) saying it isn’t.
When considering workplaces of the future and the next generation, parents have shown a surprising openness, in fact, close to three quarters (73.8%) of university and TAFE-educated Australians who have children say they would encourage them to consider an alternative path to building their skills and capabilities, as opposed to following the traditional route.
The state of the current school curriculum
It seems uncertainty about their own professional future may also be shaping parents’ thoughts on the current education system. With a significant proportion (78.8%) of respondents agreeing that traditional academic subjects do not prepare young people for the work environment they will face, and many of the current skills or subjects currently taught will be irrelevant once they enter the workforce (74.2%).
Despite the concerns there are a number of positives within the current system. A third (33.9%) believe innovations in education technology will offer children new opportunities to engage with learning, and the vast majority (87.5%) say they are comfortable with the amount of technology based learning systems used in schools today.
Whilst engagement with traditional subjects in the classroom is important, we can no longer ignore the impact technology has had, and will continue to have on our society. From early schooling to tertiary education, it is clear Australians believe that education curriculums should facilitate the development of the necessary skills and knowledge that are essential in order for children to succeed in the future.
To find out more about modern Australian views and everyday issues impacting families, stay tuned for our next chapter of research coming soon.