Release type: Media Release


Australia takes lead on bringing students into the 21st Century


The Hon Julia Gillard MP
Minister for Education. Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
Minister for Social Inclusion
Deputy Prime Minister

The Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, today announced that Australia will become a founding member for a new international multi-sector research project, theAssessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills (ATC21S)project.

TheAssessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills project is a not for profit collaboration between Cisco, Intel, Microsoft and five founding member countries: Australia, Finland, Portugal, Singapore and the UK.

The international project, to be led by Professor Barry McGaw of the University of Melbourne, will develop new assessment tools for measuring key skills needed for the modern economy and society.

Research suggests that education systems have not kept pace with the changing global economy and advances in information and communications technology (ICT).

The Rudd Government is committed to ensuring that Australian students can successfully meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

The Rudd Government has already invested $2.2 billion in a Digital Education Revolution to ensure Australian students are learning with the tools of the 21st Century.

The findings of the project have the potential to inform the development of the new national curriculum. The development of new methodologies and assessment tools will also enhance our innovative national assessment program.

The Australian Government will work alongside other country representatives to explore the gap between the skills students are being provided with and what they require to participate fully in the modern world of work.

The Rudd Government is determined to strengthen Australia’s reputation as a world leader in education and build on its commitment to make sure all Australian students have the right skills to participate effectively in the global economy.

As part of the project a computer-based assessment system will be developed to test students’ abilities in cross-disciplinary analytical, creative, adaptive and problem solving skills, as well as their ability to work co-operatively.

Further information is available at