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Labor Proposes COVID Crisis Education Inquiry

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Labor is calling on the government to commission an independent review of the Tasmanian education ‘disruption’ so lessons can be captured to improve student engagement and retention. Shadow Education Minister Josh Willie said that “through this disruption there have been some learnings, and it hasn’t been a negative experience for everyone.” However remote learning exposed […]

Shadow Minister for Education, Josh Willie MLC.

Labor is calling on the government to commission an independent review of the Tasmanian education ‘disruption’ so lessons can be captured to improve student engagement and retention.

Shadow Education Minister Josh Willie said that “through this disruption there have been some learnings, and it hasn’t been a negative experience for everyone.” However remote learning exposed many inequalities that meant some students didn’t do well during this period.

“Many students and families struggled with remote learning and some will be playing ‘catch up’ now they’re back at school,” Willie said

He believes that there is merit in looking more closely at remote learning. “Schools have observed students with anxiety, and students disengaged from learning for other reasons, thriving during remote learning,” the Elwick MLC said.

“That suggests we should have a closer look at making remote learning an ongoing mode of education for students who need support or have different learning styles, alongside traditional schooling.”

Willie said while some schools have been surveying parents and students and capturing other information, a system-wide independent review should be initiated quickly by government to provide an objective analysis. Areas to be looked at could include the ‘digital divide’, teacher preparedness, learning resource sand attention and engagement, he suggested.

“That would allow us to capture insights while the experience is fresh in people’s minds, understand what worked well and what could be embedded moving forward.”

Before the pandemic hit, data from the Productivity Commission showed Tasmanian school students had the worst post-school outcomes, lowest literacy, and lowest attendance and retention rates in the country.

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Willie said an independent review would support the Department of Education Strategic Plan and system goals, including ensuring everyone is participating and engaged in learning. “One of the values of the Department is putting students first, and if we’re going to put students first we need to independently analyse what’s happened and listen to what they’re saying.”

“This is an opportunity to find better ways to meet the needs of all of Tasmania’s students and take a more innovative approach to education, and I urge Jeremy Rockliff to commission a review.”

From left Holly Thorne, Maia Thorne, and their mother Heather Stanton.

Different experiences

Year 10 sisters Maia and Holly Horne said they had quite different reponses to the learning-from-home period. “I’ve really liked working from home,” said Holly. “I’ve liked the quiet, and it’s a lot less stressful. Going to back to school is a different story.”

Her sister however was happier to be back. “I enjoyed the time off, and caught up on a lot of sleep I think, but I also found I really missed socialising,” said Maia. “I quite often was unmotivated to go and do my online schoolwork when there was other stuff at home I could be doing.”

Holly said she now understood that she worked better in quieter environments, without a lot of people around her. Maia meanwhile hadn’t thought of herself as a ‘people person’ but now realised that was important to her.

Both girls agreed that more flexibility in the school system would be a good thing for all. “I would like more opportunities to work from home,” said Holly. “It should be a bit more individual, because everyone has different learning needs,” said Maia.

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They both agreed that learning in Tasmanian schools should be more student-centred. “100 per cent. We’re the ones going through the system. If we can have a say in what we do in school, that would definitely help us enjoy it more,” concluded Maia.

Source: Tasmanian Times https://tasmaniantimes.com/2020/06/labor-proposes-covid-crisis-education-inquiry/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=labor-proposes-covid-crisis-education-inquiry

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