The 2020 Schools Summits held around Australia over the past month have been a resounding success, the Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, said today.
Australian school students clearly have plenty of ideas, and they have responded with energy and enthusiasm to the invitation to be part of the 2020 Summit.
They want to be heard and the Rudd Government is listening to them.
Over 500 schools participated in the Schools Summits, including primary and secondary schools from every State and Territory.
The schools ranged from large metropolitan public and private schools to one and two-teacher rural schools.
Some schools drew in the whole school community, while others conducted on-line forums or facilitated classroom discussions.
Australian students showed initiative and imagination, both in the way they approached the task and how they chose to express their ideas.
They sent in poems, drawings, songs, futuristic stories and very sophisticated multimedia presentations.
We heard about practical calls for showerheads with inbuilt timers, mandated water tanks, support for rural tourism to keep country towns buzzing and suggestions for healthy eating days in our schools.
One group of inventive primary school students from the Northern Territory even gave us their vision for a ‘Green Car’ fuelled by water and solar power.
Our nation’s school students have given the Youth 2020 Summit beginning in Canberra tomorrow, and also the Australia 2020 Summit the following week, plenty of food for thought.
A total of 10 key themes were covered in the Schools Summits, including:
- Future directions for the Australian economy – including education, skills, training, science and innovation as part of the nation’s productivity agenda
- Economic infrastructure, the digital economy and the future of our cities
- Population, sustainability, climate change and water
- Future directions for rural industries and rural communities
- A long-term national health strategy – including the challenges of preventative health, workforce planning and the ageing population
- Strengthening communities, supporting families and social inclusion
- Options for the future of Indigenous Australia
- The future of the arts, film and design
- The future of Australian democracy, a more open government (including the role of the media), the structure of the Federation and the rights and responsibilities of citizens
- Australia’s future security and prosperity in a rapidly changing region and world
It's also important - and challenging - to see how young Australians viewed all these critical areas that they, as future educators, business people, and community leaders, will have to deal with in the year 2020.
The Rudd Government thanks everyone – school students, teachers and parents – who have contributed to the Schools Summits.
A copy of theVoices of the Future Schools Summits feedback report is available at: www.australia2020.gov.au/schools/index.cfm