Meeting Minister Dixon
VicSRC Exec students attended a meeting with Hon. Martin Dixon, Minister of Education. The purpose was to bring to his attention the resolutions passed by students at Congress this year.
It was a good opportunity for the Executive to voice the opinions of students throughout Victoria. While talking to Minister Dixon, we discovered that not only was he supportive of the VicSRC's work, Student Voice and the resolutions passed, but that he had also been working with his department on some of the resolutions already.
He spoke to us about creating an online resource accessible to students and teachers which provide tools for ongoing feedback and reporting. Teachers and students will have access to this new Assessment Portal next year.
We spoke to him about the resolution on having non-gendered bathrooms available for students in schools. We were pleased that the DEECD had already created policies regarding anti-bullying in schools such as Bully-stopper program and guidelines around homophobia. We think this is a great step towards raising awareness and creating cultural shifts in schools towards anti-transphobia.
The Minister was also supportive of eliminating the stereotypes that exist around the different pathway options for students, such as VCAL, VET, and VCE. As one of the Exec members in charge of this resolution, we decided that we want to convert information provided by the VCAA on pathways into an interactive smartphone app as it will ensure that all relevant and useful information about these pathways is accessible to the majority of students. We were also pleased to hear that in the future students will have a broader range of subject options and allow more cross over between the different pathways.
In his response to the last resolution; to see an increase in practical and engaging learning in the classroom, the Minister further went on to explain how he believed that a "good teacher will do that anyway". When asked by the Exec members on how the Department would ensure that all teachers are educated on having more interactive classes by allowing student input and perspective, he responded by saying that the department has been working on resources for teachers that help in educating them regarding this. The Minister also expressed his interest in working with the VicSRC to ensure there is a student input in the creation of such resources, and he believed that this will help in creating more "good teachers".
It was a wonderful experience for myself and the rest of the Exec members present there as it gave us the opportunity to take student voice to the next level by raising awareness of the importance of student voice and input in such decision-making when setting policies because after all; "students need to have a say in their education".
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