Page 1884 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 2 June 2015

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The amendments recognise improvements and best practice in modern education methodologies and new approaches to education policy. These changes are important for our students in the rapidly changing, technology-driven world. Governments everywhere are attempting to become more adaptive and more flexible to community needs. These changes ensure that the government can receive high quality feedback and strengthen community engagement in our education sector while remaining focused on the core of our education system—our students.

The changes are designed to allow for flexibility in advice and the tenure of advisory bodies. Representatives will be sought from a wider field than currently exist. Representatives from universities, nationally recognised specialists, early childhood educators, policy analysts, members from all ACT school sectors and students will be asked to be part of the new advisory bodies.

The ACT currently has the most formalised provisions of any jurisdiction for our advisory arrangements. Membership and meeting requirements are overly prescriptive, I believe, with near identical functions for each of the two councils.

Under the new arrangements, the minister will be able to conduct themed roundtable meetings that have proven to serve other ministers and portfolios well. Being able to coordinate with subject matter experts and a variety of sources will benefit the level of advice and policy direction provided to government.

I have asked Mr Craig Curry, the current chair of the Government Schools Education Council, to chair the first committee under the amended act. I am very pleased to have Mr Curry’s courage, experience and expertise, and also his guidance, in steering through this change. Mr Curry is well qualified for the role of chair of the new committee. His extensive expertise includes providing strategic leadership of ACT public schools, including preschool, school, college and disability education. He is well respected across all education sectors and has demonstrated his ability to engage with multiple stakeholders on diverse issues.

This bill, when passed, will see the first committee provide me with advice around digital citizenship. The expansion of internet connectivity in homes, in public spaces and through mobile networks, along with the value of the internet to support learning, demonstrates the need to establish a forum to advise on developing our young people as responsible digital citizens. This is relevant across all sectors, and parental engagement is vital to ensure the safe and effective use of technologies.

In establishing the first committee, I will be seeking expert advice on how ACT families and schools can be better equipped to take advantage of technology and improve student outcomes and wellbeing. I will seek expert advice on how families and schools can work together to better support students to be informed digital citizens. I will seek advice on how to encourage students’ safe and productive online participation whilst reducing their exposure to harmful content and illegal activity.

I will also seek advice on how to enable students to engage positively online and to protect themselves from the potential consequences of online behaviour, including recognising an unsafe situation and what can be done about it. This advice will be

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