Hoppers Crossing Students Push for VCE Reform

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Students from Hoppers Crossing get ready to debate their bill. Credit: Lexie Huculak

By Jamal Ben Haddou

Following rigorous debate, youth parliamentarians narrowly passed a bill to reform VCE with a majority of 29 to 24 votes.

Five students from Hoppers Crossing Secondary College pushed the bill in YMCA Youth Parliament to improve what they believe is an “overly theoretical model of education”.

The ambitious bill proposes to create the Extra Curricular Assessment Authority to work with the current Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority.

The ECAA will overlook the development of vocational assessment and hands-on learning opportunities for year 11 and 12 students enrolled in VCE.

VCE student Terence Aseta from the sponsoring team said it’s important for Victorian curriculum to incude practical knowledge by allowing students to gain credit for extracurricular activities.

“It provides real life experience. In a practical work field, how are students going to succeed without the proper exposure extracurricular activities provide?” Terence said.

The bill also proposes alternative forms of assessment other than writing tests, such as oral and physically demonstrated answers.

Terence said this bill is important to help students play on their strengths.

“The education system does not necessarily cater to all learning types so the bill ensures that students are able to gain other assessment options,” he said.

The bill also controversially proposes to decrease exam weighting and increase the contribution of coursework towards the ATAR score.

Victorian Youth Premier Omar Al Dabel weighed in on the exam debate arguing rote learning doesn’t fully develop the learning potential of students.

“I think our education system is broken, it rewards people with the best memories because we test our youth with rote learning,” he said.

“Our system needs reform.”

Emma Carter from the refuting team was happy both sides engaged in a constructive debate; however, she contested some of the bill’s definitions.

“A few aspects of the bill were very broad, but we all had a good chance to have our say,” she said.

Terence from the sponsoring team said despite the amendment, he’s happy with the outcome.

“I did think that we needed to amend some key points and we did need specify some exact definitions, but it’s the bigger picture we have to focus on and that’s on youth and their success,” he said.

The bill will now be presented to Youth Minister Jenny Mikakos and considered for legislation.

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