Australia in the Asian Century

The Australian Government recently released the white paper “Australia in the Asian Century” which has been developed over the past year.  The rapid economic development in Asia has been analysed and future projections have been made with the impact on Australia assessed, as well as outlining specific gains that Australia can achieve by moving positively with this “Asian Century”.

Check out yesterday’s ABC News for more details & interesting video.

I want to congratulate the Australian government for first taking the positive leap to see all the benefits of the “Asian Century” and finding ways to benefit from it and be part of it; change is not always welcome or easy, so a positive approach is always good.  However, I do hope that the environmental impact of all this improvement and economic development will be assessed and minimised as well.  Environment sustainability is explored in this white paper.

This white paper covers many topics but I mainly looked at the Education specific details.  The study of Asia and Asian language is key and is already within the Australian curriculum – I think Australians have always known that learning an Asian language is a good idea (Japanese language was taught in my High School 20 years ago) but now this skill is urgently required.  The white paper also urges for increased international Asian student enrollment and an enhanced “world-class” higher education system.

The national objectives for Education listed within the SKILLS AND EDUCATION: SETTING THE FOUNDATIONS Fact Sheet is interesting and yet not really surprising.

National objectives
 Australia’s school systems will be in the top five schooling systems in the world.
 Australia will be ranked as a top five country in the world for the performance of our students in reading, science and mathematics literacy.
 By 2015, 90 per cent of young Australians aged 20 to 24 years will have a Year 12 or equivalent qualification, up from 86 per cent in 2010

These objectives scream “competition” to me, which is OK although I think there’s always a potential to lose something when we focus mainly on being competitive.

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