Overnewton students call for education system reforms

Madison Nicol, Jasmine Thuree, Rachel Grimaud, Annabelle Rodda, Mitchell Sprague and James Barger from the Overnewton Youth Parliament team.

Students from Overnewton Anglican Community College. Clockwise from top left: Madison Nicol, Jasmine Thuree, Rachel Grimaud, James Barger, Mitchell Sprague and Annabelle Rodda.

By Bri Hines

A group of students from Overnewton Anglican Community College will introduce a Bill at the annual YMCA Victorian Youth Parliament which proposes a review of the Victorian education system.

Team members Rachel Grimaud, Jasmine Thuree, Annabelle Rodda, Mitchell Sprague, James Barger and Madison Nicol want to give students a greater voice in their education.

Rodda said the reforms have been a long time coming.

“The COVID-19 lockdown period highlighted the need for a change in learning,” she said.

“Our idea of what learning looks like has been around for hundreds of years, and a lot of individual teaching styles are only now beginning to change – we want to encourage a greater change.”

The team believes the education system needs to be reformed to instil a passion for learning in students.

“A more holistic education looks at every part of our development. The development of soft skills, and the passion of seeking something more. A lot of us just do what we’re supposed to be doing – we take tests, we study for those tests, but we don’t seek to learn more,” Thuree said.

“We want every student to feel like they are valued and that their education is valuable.”

The Bill also proposes expanding the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning program and widening university entrance requirements to include students’ involvement in extracurricular activities.

Every year, 120 young people aged 16 to 25 participate in the YMCA Youth Parliament program. However, COVID-19 restrictions mean that the event will not take place in-person this year. Bills will instead be handed over to the Hon. Ros Spence, Minister for Youth, and the Victorian Youth Governor, Nicholas Steer, for consideration at the end of September.

This article was originally published in the Brimbank & North West Star Weekly on 18 August.

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