"Leadership and Learning are indispensable to one another."
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, November 22 1963.
This is a quote I have recently begun to reflect on, and one I thought would interest you also.
The NSW auditor general recently published a report saying that raising the school leaving age to 17 has not impacted the academic levels of success but has instead prompted those who would rather be doing a trade or full-time study (such as TAFE) to become discouraged.
In a country with a shortage of tradesmen, we're encouraging our youth to not directly pursue their potential trades?
The report went on to describe how those who are at school simply for the sake of the law are distracting those who are in the pursuit of their academic goals. This is where the quote above rings home.
Young people must lead their own education. At 17, vague if not outlined career ideas have begun to form in our minds. Quite simply, we know where we would like to go. We don't all dream of being architects, physicists or rocket scientists. Many of us dream to be electricians, beauticians, or accountants (yes, accountants) - professions that have directly linked courses at TAFE that are specific and industry-recognised.
When there is an option between a generalist course (the high school certificate) and a specialist course (Accounting Certificate III), the specialist course will always be more rewarding to the individual.
We need to allow our youth to lead in their learning. If we are daring enough to remove this law, embrace the pursuits youth have in their own lives and support them accordingly, we will raise a generation that is capable to lead in resolving the needs of tomorrow.