​​​2018 Achievements in Global Learning and Engagement​​

​​​December 2018

​​​​Victoria’s ongoing prosperity, and the future success of today’s learners, will depend on their ability to engage with the world beyond their own backyard. It has therefore been exciting in 2018 to see global learning and engagement continue it​s transition from the edges to the mainstream of our education system in this State. 

​​​More students from more countries into more schools

So far this year 8,282 international students have studied in our government schools, many of them studying VCE, but also as part of short-term Study Tours or Study Abroad programs. With over 300 accredited schools, this means more than one-fifth of our schools have had the opportunity to host international students, allowing our local students to learn from, and be inspired by, peers from all over the world, expanding their horizons and building their second language and intercultural capabilities.

​This year we increased the number of European, Latin American and South East Asian international students studying in our schools, as we continue our push to grow and diversify the International Student Program. This diversity was reflected in our award winners at this year's Global Learning Awards (formerly known as the International School Student Awards). This year we added two new award categories, including the inaugural Excellence in Global Learning Award, which went to Northcote High School for their holistic efforts at internationalisation (including being the first government school to deliver VCE offshore).

​More student cultural learning experiences

We have also greatly expanded the opportunities for Victorian students, teachers and school leaders to participate in tailored global learning programs, adding breadth and depth to the Global Citizenship dimension of the FISO, which I'm starting to see reflected more and more in schools' AIPs. This year we sent 288 students and 38 teachers to Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Sichuan through the Victorian Young Leaders to China Program, bringing the total since the program started to almost 1,500 students and 200 teachers.

Earlier this year, the government also expanded Victorian Young Leaders to India and Ind​onesia, with pilots to take place from next year. Beyond the VYL we also launched the Globally Engaged Learners Project, enabling students from low SES backgrounds and regional areas to access global learning opportunities. DET provides pre-purchased places in programs offered by Asia Education Foundation (Australia-ASEAN Youth Forums) AFS (mentoring programs for newly arrived international students), High Resolves (workshops to develop student's intercultural capability) and Kids Conference. So far 350 primary and secondary school students from Victorian government schools have participated in these activities.

​More teacher and principal professional development opportunities

The Department also accelerated its support to teachers through the launch of the Intercultural Champions Pilot, which saw 40 participants from 29 primary and secondary schools team up for a 12-month program to transform the theoretical concept of intercultural capabilities in the Curriculum into active, classroom practice. This project is running alongside work with the VCAA to create a suite of teaching resources and assessment tools, which you can access here. Speaking of inspiring teachers, I want to give a huge shout out to Brendan Hitchens from Canterbury Primary School, who took the initiative to make the DIVERSEcities film about intercultural understanding, which screened in November at the Rivoli Theatre. I'd encourage you all to watch it yourselves.

We know that change starts at the top, so we are also working with principals to build their global understanding. In the last three years 49 school leaders have participated in the Building Global Citizenship Program (formerly known as Leading Asia Capable Schools). Next year we will launch the Women in Leadership Program to partner leading female principals in Victoria and India. Many more principals have championed sustained and meaningful sister school partnerships, with a 17% increase over the last year meaning we now have 342 schools with 483 partnerships all across the world. These inspiring system leaders are leading the way, supporting their teachers and students to engage with the world.

​​More opportunities to celebrate great practice 

This year I had the pleasure of visiting a range of schools to witness first-hand their global learning efforts, including Wellington, Hazel Glen, MacRobertson Girls', Oberon, Belmont, Warrnambool, Ringwood and Heathmont. Lindy Stirling, who does a sterling job of putting this newsletter together, has also interviewed 62 schools to develop case studies on best practice across the State, which I can't wait to share with you all – an excerpt of which is later in this newsletter.

Many more schools have generously given their time to host 51 delegations of teachers and government officials from 20 countries, who have visited Victoria to learn more about the wonderful things we are doing as the Education State. A further 20 Victorian principals accompanied me last month to the Jiangsu International Principals Forum in Nantong, China. As a sign of Victoria's global reputation, I was invited to provide the closing remarks at the Forum, presenting to an audience of school leaders from all over the world about our State's efforts to internationalise our education system.​

I am extremely proud to work with you all, to lead such a dedicated team, and to be part of an education system that values the importance of global learning and engagement. I look forward to furthering our collective efforts in 2019, to ensure we support all of our learners to become active, global citizens and the future leaders that this world so dearly needs. 

Joel Backwell, International Education Division​​​

Last Update: 10/12/2018 2:34 PM