How is your school going in preparing students for the 21st century?



Australia’s national educational goals take into account the context of the digital age. The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians asserts, “in this digital age young people need to be highly skilled in the use of ICT” (MCEETYA 2008, p5). This continues a theme from the earlier 1999 Adelaide Declaration of Australia’s National Goals for Schooling which stated that when students leave school they should be, “confident, creative and productive users of new technologies, particularly information and communication technologies, and understand the impact of those technologies on society”(MCEETYA 1999, p.7).


The aspirational national goals hide the reality students can no longer be assured of middle class comforts through manual labor or use of routine skills, work that can be accomplished by machines. Success for them in the future lies:


i) in being able to communicate, share and use information to solve complex problems;


ii) in being able to adapt and innovate in response to new demands and changing circumstances (OECD 2006; Cisco Systems 2008; Partnerships for 21st Century Skills 2010); and,


iii) in being able to marshal and expand the power of technology to create new knowledge and expand human capacity and productivity (Binkley, Erstad et al. 2010).


As workers in the 21st century, students of today will be required to work many different jobs across various occupations. They will require an ability to learn new things because accelerating technological change is making old skills redundant, therefore generating the need for new skills (Wergriff 2002).


Quite simply, schools need to prepare students for their contemporary world by developing 21st century skills and capabilities required by young people to have a successful life (Moyle 2006). 


How is your school going in preparing students for the 21st century?


Greg Miller.





Binkley, M., O. Erstad, et al. (2010). Draft White Paper 1 Defining 21st century skills; A report to the Learning and Technology World Forum 2010 in London as part of the Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills project created by Cisco, Intel and Microsoft. U. o. Melbourne. London.


Cisco Systems (2008). Equipping Every Learner for the 21st Century: A White Paper.


Moyle, K. (2006). “Leadership and learning with ICT : voices from the profession.”


OECD (2006). Think Scenarios, Rethink Education.


Partnerships for 21st Century Skills (2010). “Framework for 21st Century Learning.” from


Wergriff, R. (2002). “Literature review in Thinking Skills, Technology and Learning.” Futurelab Series Report 2.

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