Supporting the digital transformation of Australian education

Rethinking education provision

A demand for greater personalisation in student learning, allied to increased choice among online offerings by schools and other education providers is changing the perception of schooling as geographically defined. Considerable work has also been done on alternative ways to assess and report on students’ achievements, skills and capabilities.

Possible foci for national policy action include:
The states and territories have agreed to the introduction of a Unique Student Identifier. As governments move toward the introduction of a USI, the federal government could investigate the potential to create a national platform for a digital learning passport for students, linked to their USI.
More flexible models of education would require a review of current legislation, regulation, curriculum delivery and student assessment and certification to determine what, if any, structural elements must change to enable provision changes, including: the definition of ‘student attendance’ to accommodate off-campus learning; accreditation of external resources to meet curriculum requirements and standards; moderation of internal and external examinations and/or assessment; and the impact on per student recurrent funding If students are able to ‘bundle’ their choice of courses. The federal government is well placed to lead a national approach to such challenges through the Education Ministers Meeting and the Australian Education Senior Officials Committee (AESOC).
The federal government has executed significant reforms in the post-school education and training sectors both prior to and in response to COVID-19 to create greater flexibility in these sectors to address the demand for re-skilling of Australia’s workforce. In light of these innovations, the federal government could commission a review of their potential impact on schooling provision.

Creating digital connections

Remote learning in 2020 and 2021 revealed gaps in schools’ and students’ access to the means to deliver and/or participate in education opportunities that rely on digital technologies.

Governments have a primary role in ensuring all schools and students are equipped with the appropriate digital hardware, software, internet access and bandwidth to enable Australia’s school system to continue its digital transformation and to ensure all students are able to access the opportunities this transformation brings. 

Provision made during COVID-19 lockdowns – such as school-based laptop/tablet loans to students, low-fee access to internet connection and cheaper access to internet/satellite coverage in regional and remote areas – provides a wealth of evidence on the nature of digital gaps and how schemes to bridge those gaps might inform national effort involving the federal and state and territory governments.

More examples of how strengths-based policies can rapidly strengthen Australia’s school system:
Upskilling the teaching profession
Re-establishing & strengthening students’ learning journeys
Supporting student wellbeing
Strengthening all levels of school leadership
Engaging parents in their children’s education
(Image courtesy of Trinity Anglican School, Qld.)