Analysis of the Melbourne Declaration
Analysis of the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians Developed by the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, represented by members of individual states, territories and the federal education department, the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians outlines the fundamental objectives relevant to every child within the Australian schooling system.
The prescriptive content within the Melbourne Declaration encourages: students’ holistic development; an equitable education for all; accountability for teachers and schools regarding their students’ success. The Melbourne Declaration asserts that protecting the Nation’s future profitability begins with recognising the importance of the education awarded to current Australian students.
The Foundation For Young Australians emphasises that achieving a prosperous nation of capable and informed members begins with educational experiences that prepare students for the world following their formal schooling. The Melbourne Declaration supports this position by placing considerable attention towards providing a holistic education for students to become successful learners, confident and creative individuals, as well as active and informed citizens.
These elements accentuate the importance of cultivating student’s motivation, social understanding, whilst supporting positive personal identity through moral and ethical judgment.
Despite these intended benefits, ensuring a successful education for every student requires additional considerations Providing all Australian students with an equitable education is prioritised within the Melbourne Declaration. According to MCEETYA, physical and socio-economic diversities amongst students lead to an increased likelihood of “educational disadvantage”.
The Melbourne Declaration emphasises reconciling this disparity by involving parents, schools and communities in improving peer attitudes, attendance and engagement to generate a more equitable education as well as equitable future opportunities for affected students.
Although the Melbourne Declaration stipulates these considerations, specific strategies are not provided requiring individual schools to source and implement their own measures to actualise the document’s intentions. Without consistent regulations, individual programs may render varied results.
The Melbourne Declaration identifies every member of the Australian schooling system as accountable for accomplishing the outcomes provided with the Melbourne Declaration.
Despite this directive, the intention to provide schools with “reliable, rich data on the performance of their students”, thrusts the fundamental responsibility of students’ success upon schools and teachers. With the focus on standardised results, many teachers may adapt their teaching to improve these scores at the expense of student learning. Donnelly suggests that focuses on standardised results compel schools and teachers to move towards drill and skill approaches, which directly decreases higher order thinking and authentic learning opportunities.
Furthermore, comparative assessment often decreases intrinsic motivation and self-worth, which directly contradicts MCEETYA’s intention to improve students’ holistic welfare. Although the intentions outlined within the Melbourne Declaration are of a valuable nature, further consideration should be provided to ensure every Australian student is provided with appropriate strategies to reach their full capability. Furthermore, evaluating student achievement should be for the benefit of education not merely a device to judge teaching performance, as the results of such methods may prove futile. Reference List Donnelly, K.
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