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March 25
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
$80.00 – $95.00


Venue: To be confirmed closer to the date

Improving Australia’s plateaued school system

Members' Lunch with Professor Jim Watterston

Hosted by:
Nina Christesen

March 25 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

$80.00 – $95.00

The recent release of the 2018 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) evaluation has heightened the intense scrutiny and deep concern in relation to Australia’s school and early childhood educational structure and performance. Additionally, our National Assessment Program-Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN), initiated in 2008, also confirms long-term, ‘flatlined’ educational performance and engagement across the country.

We are scrambling to adjust school-based curriculum, pedagogy and assessment to take into account the realities of a turbulent world rapidly transitioning based upon the advent of artificial intelligence, robotics and digital process automation. With a growing anxiety and deep concern about the impacts of climate change and geo-political destabilisation, many are questioning whether our Australian schools systems are providing the contemporary preparation essential for our next generations and indeed, to sustain Australia’s economy and our place in the world.

From his first job as a teacher in a rural Indigenous classroom in his home state of Western Australia to his appointment as the Dean of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne, Professor Jim Watterston brings more than 35 years of successful experience across a diverse range of educational roles and sectors.

Jim spent his first ten years in the profession as a teacher before being promoted to the position of principal in a range of primary and secondary schools. He then progressed to the role of Regional Director in WA and Victoria before he was appointed as the Deputy Secretary of the Victorian Education Department, and Director General of both the ACT and, most recently, Queensland Departments of Education and Training. Jim was awarded a Doctorate in Education at the University of WA in 2004.

In addition to appointments to many educationally related Boards, Professor Watterston has previously served for six years as the National President for the Australian Council for Education Leaders, and is recognised as an influential advocate for the education sector. His contribution to education has been acknowledged both nationally and internationally with awards from a number of professional bodies and educational institutions including the highly prestigious Order of the Palmes Académiques (Chevalier) by the French Government in 2014 for a distinguished contribution to education.

This concise presentation provides an overview of the current state of education in Australia, focussing from a national perspective on the performance evidence, organisational constraints and the opportunities potentially available to significantly enhance the lives of our young people as they go forward into a globalised and uncertain world.

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