What Australian kids want on World Children's Day


Students were asked in survey conducted by UNICEF to reflect on the quality of their education and its impact on student achievement.

A survey of over 1000 Australian high school students found the education system is failing to teach them the practical life skills they think they need, including budgeting and how to get a job.

To mark World Children’s Day, UNICEF commissioned a survey by YouGov Galaxy on the experience of students aged between 14 and 16 around the country.

Students surveyed said they felt high school education is too focused on training students to pass exams instead of teaching knowledge that will be valuable throughout their life.

Actor Millie Bobby Brown has teamed up with UNICEF to help mark this year's World Children's Day.
Actor Millie Bobby Brownl, centre, has teamed up with UNICEF to help mark this year's World Children's Day.

Exactly half said they wanted to learn more practical on-the-job skills, and 48 per cent said they wanted to learn practical financial skills, such as how to budget.

Forty per cent said they would like to learn practical living skills, such as how to be healthy, eat good food and exercise.

'More practical stuff'

“Teach us stuff that we could use," one student said. "Such as more practical stuff, teach us logical skill."

Other students said they wanted more training on being job ready, including working in a business for a day.

“Teach students more about what actually occurs in life and in the workplace," one student said.

Another kid lamented that "some of the things we learn won’t help us in the future" and issued a plea to "make maths and English more relevant!"

UNICEF Australia’s Director of Policy, Amy Lamoin, said the survey results give an insight on how Australia could improve its performance on education equality when compared to the other 40 high-income nations in the OECD and EU.

Australia ranked in bottom third among rich nations

Australia placed in the bottom third of the group, with the OECD finding in 2005 that 17 per cent of Australian students leave high school without achieving basic education skill levels.

UNICEF Australia’s Director of Policy, Amy Lamoin
UNICEF Australia’s Director of Policy, Amy Lamoin.

“The difference between Australia and other countries that are performing well in education is that they have asked and answered two key questions," Ms Lamoin said.

"First, what kind of society do we want? And second, what kind of citizens do we want? Australia needs to consider the big purpose and project of education - and this is a conversation for the whole community, not just our decision makers”

Iconic landmarks including the Sydney Opera House and the Luna Park Ferris Wheel will light up in blue on Tuesday evening to mark World Children’s Day. 

The global day marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Funds raised goes towards helping millions of children who have been displaced and are without an education.

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