October 22, 2016
THE world is changing so quickly that young people need a global mindset and skillset to succeed in their future careers. Work is being transformed by global markets, new technology and ever increasing ethnic, cultural and social diversity.
All of that means our students’ futures depend on how our well our education system develops their global competence. To be able to take advantage of global opportunities, they need to be equipped with cultural knowledge, communication and language skills and a deep intercultural understanding of our region.
The challenge is giving students the opportunity to practise these skills in a safe environment, relevant to the sort of real-world opportunities they will encounter.
In Wonthaggi on Monday, the Asia Education Foundation, in partnership with the Andrews Foundation and Bass Coast Shire Council, hosted the inaugural Global Goals Youth Forum, a new program designed to deepen student understanding of global issues and develop global competencies.
Fifty Year 9 to 11 students from Wonthaggi Secondary College, Newhaven College and Leongatha Secondary College took part in the forum at the Wonthaggi Union Arts Community Centre.
The issues to be explored on the day were global goals adopted in 2015 by world leaders gathered at a special United Nations summit. They include an end to all forms of poverty and inequality plus solutions to tackle climate change.
In his opening address, Bass MP Brian Paynter spoke of the important role of the State Government in supporting and implementing a sustainable development agenda. “The students will be key to solving the big challenges of our future, so it’s great to see them getting involved in this space in their local and global community,’ he said.
Mary Aldred, CEO of the Committee for Gippsland, and Harry Freeman from Bass Coast Waste Watchers also shared their experience in tackling global issues that affect the local community.
Following these inspiring talks, facilitators guided collaboration between students as they developed innovative solutions to global goals. One idea developed by students included running a series of workshops for high school students to fight gender stereotypes as a preventative measure to combat gender inequality (goal five).
Events like this provide students and their schools with a great opportunity to develop a deeper awareness and understanding of global issues as well as an opportunity to put these skills into practice to better appreciate what it means to be an active local and global citizen.
They offer students the chance to connect what they learn in class with future education and career pathways, ultimately preparing them to take advantage of the global opportunities that are increasingly part of their world.
To find out more about upcoming youth forums and student engagement opportunities from the Asia Education Foundation, visit asiaeducation.edu.au.
Renuka Rajadurai is communications manager of Melbourne University's Asialink.