Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Australia Doesn’t Need Gonski, Instead it Needs a New Education System

(Photo credit: SurfGuard)

by Jamie McIntyre, 21st Century News:

[Ed: Hi readers, here is an interesting proposal for fundamentally changing the way we educate our 21st century citizens. I would be very interested to read your comments].

Governments don’t need to waste more on education, instead, western countries need to adopt a 21st century education system writes Jamie McIntyre.

The Australian government mistakenly thinks that the solution to improving the Australian education system is the Gonski report which basically involves throwing more money at education.

This trend is similar to other western countries as well. However, it is a complete waste of taxpayers’ money.

Following the footsteps of UK and US, ever since the current government in Australia has come into power, the education budget has risen by 40 per cent. Yet, the standard of education is simply going backwards despite billions of dollars being spent on it.

Recently, Prime Minister Julia Gillard proposed the implementation of the Gonski reforms with a $14.5 billion education package as recommended by businessman David Gonski.

The aim of the Gonski reforms is to bridge the gap between underperforming and high performing students.

In a COAG meeting on Friday all states rejected her proposal. Ms Gillard wants state governments to increase education budgets by three per cent a year in exchange for a 4.7 per cent rise in federal funding.

However, throwing more money at a flawed and inept education system is simply wasting billions of dollars.

The education system doesn’t need more money thrown at it; it needs the scrapping of the 19th century industrialisation era’s outdated and badly designed education system to help students perform better, learn more effectively and secure a better future.

The need is to implement a modern day 21st century education system - something I have been lobbying for 15 years now.

A modern day 21st century education system can not only deliver results tenfold to the current one, but with the use of modern day technology it can be delivered for a fraction of the cost.

For instance, many classes can be delivered via DVD or videos downloaded online. Similarly, work sheets for lessons and tests can be downloaded. These are valuable resources to help teachers provide a better quality education and improve student learning.

In fact with the uptake of Apple, iPads are an engaging learning tool moreover apps are giving teachers and students greater resources for learning at their fingertips. This can help revolutionise our education system.

Last year I spoke to Apple co founder Steve Wozniak, who is also passionate about transforming the world’s education system.

According to Mr Wozniak, with breakthrough technology, computers can be trained to provide a teaching role to students that are one-on-one with personalised curriculum.

For instance, current technology, such as “Siri” on the iPhone, can answer most questions. Using technology akin to this and turning computers into a one on one personal teacher isn’t so farfetched.

Such technology would decrease the cost of delivering education because computers cost less than a sole teacher’s annual wage.

It is time for a change- a change that involves proper training for teachers. Teachers are effectively educators and hold one of the most critical roles in society, therefore they need more support.

For instance, top teachers should be rewarded with performance bonuses and there should be consistent reviews to eliminate the low performing ones.

In a 21st Century education system, teachers need to be trained also in public speaking; NLP, psychology and they should know how to teach accelerated learning and how to engage an audience effectively by imparting an education system for today’s world.

Moreover, a part of a teacher’s job should be to inspire and influence students positively in order to have them truly motivated so that those students can go on to add massive value to the society.

The curriculum for a modern day 21st century education needs to include areas such as:
  • Life skills
  • Financial literacy
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Health
  • Social and relationship skills
  • Technology skills for the digital age including options to learn ‘coding’
Generalist skills that can be used in almost all vocations not just specialised skills:
  • Creative problem solving skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Communication skills
  • Marketing skills
  • Entrepreneurial skills
A ‘results’ based education system working closely with parents and employers will deliver students that are ready, willing and able to advance our society to higher levels with their passion, dedication, intelligence and emotional fulfilment.

I have designed below a framework to change the world’s current education system into a 21st Century Education System:


Create, design, and implement a modern day, global 21st Century Education System and replacing the out-dated 19th Century industrialised education system.


To be the catalyst for worldwide, systematic change and to empower, inspire, and educate billions of youth globally thus reshaping the entire planet positively.


1. Form a Global Think Tank of leading business and thought leaders to both support the initiative and contribute ideas and resources. The following business and thought leaders are currently being invited to join the Global Education Initiative to help change the world’s education:

• Sir Richard Branson - Founder of the Virgin Group
• Anthony Robbins - Self-help author and motivational speaker
• Robert Kiyosaki - Financial literacy activist and author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad
• Tim Ferriss - Entrepreneur and author of The 4-Hour Workweek
• Sir Ken Robinson - Author and international advisor on education in the arts
• Oprah Winfrey - Media proprietor, talk show host, and philanthropist
• Steve Wozniak - Co-Founder of Apple
• Bill Gates - Co-Founder of Microsoft
• Arnold Schwarzenegger - Actor, Bodybuilder, politician and businessman

Plus, Apple, Google, Samsung, Facebook and Microsoft are being invited to be involved due to them showing interest in reshaping the world’s education system via technology.

2. Develop a non-profit foundation to help create, design, and implement a new 21st Century Education System.

3. Develop websites and apps providing access to resources for Governments, teachers, and educators worldwide to immediately improve the current education system and to have involvement of leading technology experts to expand the resources available.

4. Convene an annual gathering of the 21st Century Global Education Think Tank leaders plus a national one for each major country.

Challenges to overcome

Funding the creation, design and implementation of a new, modern day 21st Century Education System.

Funding is not likely to be an issue for schools and Governments, because a new, modern day education utilising existing technology can increase the quality and efficiency of the current education model.

This will reduce costs that can then be redistributed to more resources, ensuring a modernised education system is implemented effectively at a lesser cost than existing education budgets.

Class size debate

Perhaps the debate should not be about the optimum class size; instead it should focus on the quality of the education being taught, and the ability of the educator to reach out to the student through skill and the power of influence.

For example: why can Anthony Robbins (one of the world’s leading educators) intimately influence and impact 5,000 people in a room, while a teacher with no public speaking training struggles to teach 25 students in a classroom?

How to implement a new 21st Century education system

It’s suggested that both a grass roots and a top level down approach be used.

Therefore, that would involve providing educational resources and tools for teachers worldwide along with lobbying and assisting National Education and State Education Ministers to work with the Think Tank to replace the current, out-dated and largely ineffective education model and curriculum.

It’s unrealistic to expect teachers who were former high school students and then spent only three years training at university (in Australia only three years is required), to be able to teach with any level of real life experience.

In Australia, a majority of teachers are female, contributing to a loss of male role models, which requires rebalancing as well.

One idea is to have Super Classes once a month where regional schools attend a large auditorium for one or two days to learn from leading edge educators, business leaders, and other thought leaders. Some speakers would appear live and some via video.

This enables students to access a higher level educator and higher standard of education, consequently increasing the real life and experience based education, which is sadly missing even now.

It also creates synergy, with students mixing with various schools. It also enables a variety of topics to be taught, making learning more fun and varied.

Such an education can be delivered at low cost with Super Classes occurring in 3,000 to 5,000 capacity auditoriums or greater.

Moreover, many successful educators and leaders would happily donate their time. These are cost effective measures that also boost the quality of education. Many companies would also send leaders and executives to contribute as they all benefit from better educated students joining the work force.

‘One Size Fits All’

The ‘One Size Fits All’ model does not always work; perhaps, the “one curriculum fits all” model needs to be changed to “choice of self-selected curriculum”.

The “One Size Fits All” is a critical complaint in the current education system by students and teachers. It is a major reason many students lose interest, and fail to learn because it does not accommodate students who have different learning abilities, like Sir Richard Branson had for example.

Branson was dyslexic and at school he was perceived as a slow learner, or poor student. However, in reality he was a fast learner with incredibly resourceful traits that led to his business success with Virgin.

When Steve Jobs went to college he complained that he had to attend pre-set classes, which was not what he wanted to do as a result, he simply refused to attend.

How many leading entrepreneurs have dropped out of school and university/college because of the lack of a supporting learning environment that encouraged passionate, rewarding learning … and then gone on to be hugely successful?

As Mark Twain famously said, “Never let schooling get in the way of a good education.”

A new, modern 21st Century Education System designed for today’s world, based on empowerment and teaching students how to get a PhD in results versus rarely used theory, could revolutionise the world more than any other single action.

The world demands results when students leave school so let’s prepare them well with a result based education designed for today’s rapidly changing world that can evolve our planet to higher levels of consciousness and productivity.

A global 21st Century Think Tank and non profit foundation is the next step to make this happen.
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