Victorian Education Minister James Merlino has announced a summit of education leaders from all sectors to examine the benefits of flexible and remote learning.
The summit will be held in June, following an independent analysis of the experience at schools across the state, and bring together education leaders from the government, Catholic and independent school sectors.
Minister Merlino said the summit is “a real opportunity” to improve Victoria’s education system and learn lessons from the remote learning experience.
“This summit will be a way for all of our school sectors to come together and report back about the benefits they experienced,” he said.
The announcement comes as 400,000 students return after seven weeks of flexible and remote learning.
Around 257,000 government school students from Prep, Grade 1, Grade 2, VCE and VCAL, and specialist schools returned to classrooms today – the first step in all students returning for face-to-face learning on 9 June.
Minister Merlino said schools will continue to look markedly different and flagged “a particularly important” five weeks for the remainder of this term.
“There will be students who will be struggling emotionally and mentally and will need health and wellbeing support from their school. There will be students who will need to catch up and rely on the expertise of their teachers,” he said.
“But there will also students who have thrived through flexible and remote learning over the last seven weeks”.
Minister Merlino said that while the pandemic has been “a crisis of tragic proportion” there has also been “gold” in the way that schools have responded to the challenges that the virus has presented.
“We have to mine that gold and make it a feature of our education system,” he said.
Minister Merlino pointed to students who had disengaged seven weeks ago but who are now embracing their learning and showing positive learning outcomes.
“We need to ask why that is the case. we need to take the positives out of this crisis and make it a feature of our education,” he said.
“I have asked teachers and staff at all schools to think about this, and this is why today I am announcing that there will be an independent analysis of what we can learn from flexible and remote learning”.