Kathe Kirby, Executive Director, Asia Education Foundation
2017 was a great year for the Asia Education Foundation. Working with future-focussed schools to equip our students to thrive in an inclusive world is what we have been doing this year.
Please read on to see our work with leading schools, students, teachers and school leaders across Australia and Asia.
Australian Government Policy
AEF started the year by convening leading Australian educators to contribute to Australia’s new Foreign Policy. In November we put a passionate case to the Gonski Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools concerning the need to equip all young Australians with global competence and Asia capabilities.
BRIDGE School Partnerships
This year our internationally recognised Australia-Asia BRIDGE School Partnerships Program expanded to Singapore and The Philippines and we established 48 new school partnerships across 10 Asian countries. We now have 330 dynamic BRIDGE school partnerships operating between Australia and Asia.
Image: Australian Ambassador to The Phillipines, Ms Amanda Gorely, at the first Phillipines BRIDGE school as they take part in a video conference with their sister school in Australia.
Our BRIDGE Indonesia office launched the Ambassador’s Principal Lecture Series with support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Through the series, Indonesian school leaders discussed community participation in education, social inclusion and special needs students.
In 2018 we celebrate 10 years of BRIDGE. We will add the remaining ASEAN Member States including Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos to the list of BRIDGE countries and offer school educators the opportunity to take part in events leading up to Australia’s 2018 ASEAN-Australia Special Summit.
Go Global Students
AEF hosted Go Global Youth Forums in three states. With the support of our sponsors and partners we involved 330 students from 32 schools. The student-led forums gave delegates the opportunity to engage with experts from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Austrade, universities, the Jane Goodall Institute and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Youth Initiative. Students put forward ideas to help realise the UN’s Global Goals for Sustainable Development and voted to address regional issues in Southeast Asia, including the adoption of an ASEAN Treaty on Refugees.
Image: Student delegates at the first Victorian Global Goals Youth Forum hosted at the University of Melbourne.
There was a really good balance of provocation, discussion, decision-making and sharing - great program!
- David Fitzgerald, Kardinia International College, Global Goals Youth Forum VIC
Registrations for a 2018 Australia-ASEAN Youth Forum in Victoria and a Global Goals Youth Forum in Western Australia are now open.
Go Global Ambassadors hosted students on workplace visits and participated in school events to offer insights into what Australia's place in the world and the Asia region means in practice. 1000 students heard Asia-experienced professionals speak first-hand about the importance of developing global competence and Asia capabilities - including language skills and intercultural understanding - plus future study and work opportunities in Asia.
Study Programs in Asia
In 2017 AEF delivered six study programs to five countries in Asia designed to meet the professional learning needs of Australian school educators. Immersive programs in China, Bhutan, Mongolia, Singapore and South Korea were al rated highly by patriating teachers and school leaders.
“Having the opportunity to hear from such a wide range of organisations gave us an excellent understanding of the context of education in Singapore and Shanghai.”
- World Class Education: Shanghai and Singapore 2017 participant, QLD
Image: Participants of the Korean Studies Workshop Program outside the iconic Gyeongbokgung temple.
Registrations for the 2018 Bhutan and China study programs are now open.
School Leader Professional Learning
In 2017 AEF partnered with the Department of Education and Training Victoria and the Bastow Institute for Educational Leadership in the second year of the Leading Asia Capable Schools Program. Independent Schools Victoria also partnered us to deliver a new program focused on Leading Globally Ready Schools.
“In a world where we are seeing significant economic transformation and dislocation we need to be thinking about where our students will be in 3-6 years time …. This program assisted me to understand these economic and educational changes.
- School Leader, Leading Asia Capable Leaders Program, Victorian
Professional Learning for Asia’s Educators
AEF worked with partners in Asia to provide professional learning in Australia for teachers and education leaders from the region.
Early in the year we completed a professional learning program for 130 of Indonesia’s top teachers on new approaches to pedagogy. This was followed by a program for teachers and Ministry of Education officials from Sri Lanka on ICT in education. Both were part of the Australian Government’s Australia Awards program. Early Childhood educators from Hangzhou Education Bureau in China were hosted by AEF to learn about establishing high quality bi-lingual kindergartens.
Fifty partnerships were established between Australian schools and Indonesian Australia Awardees studying in Australia to promote Indonesian language learning in Australia as part of the Indonesia Language Learning Ambassadors program.
The Year Ahead
In 2018 we warmly welcome Hamish Curry as the AEF’s new Executive Director. Hamish has an exciting background in education and innovation and deep ties to Japan.
AEF sincerely thanks each and every one of you for your continuing support and partnership in 2017. We acknowledge and thank our wise and committed AEF Advisory Board and all of our partners for your valued and continued support.
From our AEF family to yours, we wish you all a happy and festive holiday season.
Please join our fast-growing community on Twitter, Facebook and You Tube and download the Asia Education Foundation, Asia-Australia BRIDGE School Partnerships Program and Go Global: Student Programs brochures.
Asia Education Foundation
“Australian students’ future success has never been so dependent on their proficiency to negotiate rapidly shifting domestic and global contexts. Our schools must address this new reality because the skills required of previous generations are no longer sufficient. Now, more than ever, Australia must foster global competence by opening up our classrooms to Asia and the wider world.“
- AEF’s Submission to the Gonski Review, 2017