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Discuss About The Networks Of Business Champions For Early Childhood.

Key Criticisms Against the Education Policy

The education system in Australia is based on the pillar of inclusion irrespective of the differences among the children. The decisions related to policy making thus focuses on the aspect of undertaking adequate steps to ensure that the differences and the discrepancies among the children get bridged. Conditions are created likewise to ensure that children grow up together in an environment which enables them to feel equal. For that purpose the Government of Australia has thus introduced the Inclusion Support Programme in the year 2016 (Gambaro & Stewart, 2014). Through that initiative, the Government of Australia ensures proper implementation of rules and regulations related to education through the bureaucratic hierarchical order dedicated to the cause. The Government also ensures that proper allocation of funds and provisions for other necessary logistical requirements are also provided through the scheme. The motive of this essay is however is to provide a critical analysis of the policy and stress upon the ideal approach towards formulating a wholesome system of education. In the subsequent sections the theoretical debates, importance of family and the role to be played by the educator in enriching the process of education shall be taken up for discussion.


It has to be acknowledged that through the introduction of the Inclusion Support Programme, the definition of disability has been broadened to include not just physical disabilities, but also other aspects like cultural background and linguistic incapabilities. This has made possible the vision of including children within the age bracket of 0 to 5, into the system of early education from various backgrounds. Thereby the task of nurturing children with various capabilities in different proportions have been made possible. The current National Policy of Education in Australia harps on facilitating children with conditions of holistic education right from the outset to discover what they are best at and help them contribute that in the best possible way for the overall benefit of the Australian society in a balanced way. However there are certain issue areas which must be addressed so that they could be rectified and the wholesomeness of the education system remains intact. In this section, five key criticisms against the education policy of the country shall be mentioned (Hildenbrand et al., 2017).

 Although it is a necessary feature of the Australian education system as per the current policy decision to be inclusive of children from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds, the process of assimilation that is resorted to is not inclusive however practically. The over emphasis on the English language over other languages for all purposes in the name of assimilation has been criticized as exclusionary. Australia is a land where various cultures from different parts of the world thrives. It is expected for administrative convenience that English language occupies a predominant position, to the point that all other specificities are getting virtually negated in this process of cultural homogenization (Brennan & Adamson, 2017). A certain degree of uniformity is necessary to keep the divergent sections of the society together, but if that blocks opportunities for other ethnicities to find chances of expression, it cannot be deemed as desirable.

Approaches for Ensuring Inclusiveness in Education

In the Australian Government Department of Education and Training (2016) Inclusion support programme guidelines 2016-2017 to 2018–2019, there is no substantial mention of including children who donot speak English. The attempt on part of the government is to orient children right from the childhood to take up English as a medium of instruction. Naturally, this goes against the policy of inclusiveness that is envisaged by the Government as Davis (2017) puts it.

The Australian national policy on education also has ignored that fact that Australia has the lowest level of participation in terms of early learning, which comes about to an approximate of 18 percentage. The other OECD countries have an overwhelming 70 percentage of participation (Brennan & Fenech, 2014). This somewhat defeats the purpose of the Early Intervention Scheme. That policy decisions could be rendered futile due to lack of enthusiasm on part of the masses gets proven by it.

A thorough research and empirical evidence is required as a basis for arriving at a policy decision. Lack of substantial literature and reports on early child education in Australia, has made it difficult for teachers to adopt a correct approach in teaching children belonging to such diverse cultural background (Davis, 2017). Without awareness about the degree of diversity it is not possible for the teachers to be properly equipped. On top of that a biased attitude towards cultural minorities and the attitude of insensitivity towards them hints at a very vital point that the task of executing the policies have not been done. This is inhibiting inclusiveness, and the policies do not address these issues.


None of the education policies on inclusion with regard to children in their early childhood have mentioned of teaching gender sensitivity. Although the system of education is co-educational, which shows that the policies do not discriminate or segregate children on the lines of gender and sex, but then there is no guideline in the policy decisions which would actually necessitate sensitizing children about the other gender, and other issues relating to gender. Without providing adequate conditions for cherishing inclusiveness, the spirit of it cannot live as Coady (2017) likes to put it.

These are the grounds on which the policies, The Dakar Framework, Melbourne Declaration of Education, Salamanca Statement and the Supporting Young Children Rights Initiative can be criticized. Nevertheless, the good intentions implicitly and explicitly present in the policy decision cannot be ignored at all.

Use of Pictographical Representation

In this section, the discussion shall be based upon the various approaches and methods to be adopted for ensuring that education provided to children in the early years of their lives helps them to live up to the values of the positive policy implications of the country in terms of tolerance and development of the self in both quantitative and qualitative terms.

 Some theorists have argued in favour of the application of pictographical representations to put the intended messages across the minds of the children. Having a brain that lacks the maturity and capability to grasp things which are abstract, it is expected that children should be taught in a manner which appeals to their immediate sensational capacities. By making things visible, the learning capacities of the children are easened t a great extent. That helps in building up of their cognitive skills. Children also learn how to reflect on what they have come across visually and then try to apply that knowledge to their life experiences (Ailwood, Boyd & Theobald, 2016). It is extremely necessary that intellect building skills and enthusiasms are imbibed into the children from a very low age so that they can in future utilize that achieving their goals efficiently. Photographs are said to be very thought provoking, and the interpretation of a photograph cannot be done the same way by two different persons. Use of pictures in the mode of teaching shall thus also aid in enhancing the articulating skills of the child besides the cognitive and intellectual capacities, which is very essential for overall development of the child.

 Another very vital aspect intimated by theorists to deal with the matter of instilling the spirit of tolerance in the minds of children is by teaching them about differences. Inclusiveness is not something which people develop overnight as human beings have this tendency to differentiate between the normal and the ones which cannot be called as normal (Smith, Tesar & Myers, 2016). This idea about what is normal develops by getting habituated to seeing things in a specific way right from the childhood. Naturally, if a child is exposed to the existence of diversity in terms of ethnicity, languages, cultures et cetera, then they shall not consider it as an anomaly. Rather, they will start considering it as normal. This approach is quite similar to the previous approach which was talking about the benign effect visual images have on children (Brennan & Fenech, 2014).

Teaching About Differences

Theorists are however divided upon the issue whether to make children with physical and mental disabilities study along with physically and mentally fit children. One branch of scholars opine that children with disabilities are children who need special assistance which is generally not possible for teachers at the generic schooling systems to provide for (Watson et al., 2018). Moreover, in a mixed batch, there is every possibility of the child with special needs getting alienated and neglected by both teachers and the fellow peers. It can also happen that they become soft targets of bullying and other forms of subtle and blatant violence.

This approach has been criticized by pro-inclusionist theorists on the grounds that segregating children with disabilities from other children goes against the spirit of tolerance and teaching them to be considerate (Ailwood, Boyd & Theobald, 2016). They opine that children shall develop antipathy towards their peers with disabilities if they are not introduced to the concept of what disability is. In order to sensitize children about being differently abled, it is necessary that they study along with those children having no such issues, and teachers shall help them out in the process (O'Connor et al., 2014). With proper training, it shall be possible for teachers to balance both the kind of children. As Bussey (2017) opines that, the counter approach to arranging for special and exclusive systems for differently abled children is wiser and more in tandem with the value cherished through the Inclusion Development Fund and Early Child Intervention Scheme.

To begin with the discussion, first of all, what pedagogy accounts for must be made clear. The entire process of learning and developing the self through the education accounts for pedagogy (Farrell, 2018). In the Australian system of early education, the role of family and society is considered as very important in moulding the pedagogical practices of the teacher.

According to the Child Australia scheme, education as a process is considered to be a compendium of efforts put in not just by the teacher, but also of the family and the society (Hadley, Waniganayake & Shepherd, 2015). Education is viewed a specific form of socialization process that lays a lot of emphasis on transferring the values gained into the betterment of the society. Naturally, education is essentially conceived as a collaborative effort in aiding in the development of the child. A close contact with the society and the family is deemed as necessary for achieving the goal of building a wholesome community. The premise from which such a motive is inspired is that of giving due importance to the fact that family and society are the primary agents of socialization, and school is secondary. It is thus very clear that the impact which the primary agents of socialization shall be having on a child shall be more profound than that of the secondary ones.

 On the other side, the values imbibed at educational institutions shall find its ultimate way into the larger society at large (Wolfenden et al., 2015). Keeping this in mind, the Australian Government has devised a system of education which upholds this connection between the three agents of socialization vital for the upliftment of a child in all aspects. Moreover, involving both the family and society into the education process has entailed benefit of remaining informed, and that enables a vibrant civil society very pro-active in voicing their demands and letting the government know what are their aspirations and how far are they satisfied with the initiatives of the government (Elliott et al., 2016).


Apart from creating conditions for the children to engage in activities they like the most and fulfilling their educational requirements, an early educator is also supposed to imbibe the spirit of inclusiveness into the children. Until and unless the educator is not having a spirit of inclusiveness, he or she cannot expect her pupils to learn that and act accordingly, since children learn from what they see and observe (Mockler, 2018). An educator is supposed to ensure that he or she acts in a very judicious manner, so that the children get the right message. It is necessary that the educator makes the children learn by posing himself or herself as a good example to the them. That also enables in enriching the cognitive and the intellectual skills of the child. Before being a good educator, it is necessary to become a good human being, as that appeals to the sensibilities in a more profound manner (O’Connor et al., 2016).

 The Australian policy on education considers this with utmost seriousness. The goal of the government is to provide the country with good teachers, and to that end, the guidelines and the training programme offered in the country has been carved out likewise. In the views of Davis (2017), the course structure as per the government rules and regulations, enables an educator to combine unto himself or herself the role of an effective communicator, a role model, a living guide and above all a noble human being who shall devote himself or herself to the service of the nation.

From the above discussion, one can get a hint of the noble intentions of the Australian government towards nurturing and raising a generation of well-educated citizens who shall be aware and wise. Such gigantic outcomes do not come about in a matter of few days, hence they have to be cultured right from the childhood. To that end the Government is taking the necessary steps and hopefully the outcomes shall be propituous for the country.

Reference

Ailwood, J., Boyd, W., & Theobald, M. (2016). Understanding Early Childhood Education and Care in Australia: Practices and Perspectives. Allen & Unwin.

Brennan, D., & Adamson, E. A. (2017). Early education and child care policy in Australia. Children, families and communities, 318-336.

Brennan, D., & Fenech, M. (2014). Early Education and Care in Australia: Equity in a Mixed Market-Based System?. An Equal Start?: Providing Quality Early Education and Care for Disadvantaged Children, 171-192.

Bussey, K. (2017). The work of infant and toddler specialists in university-based early childhood teacher education in Australia and Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Coady, M. M. (2017). Feminism and the development of early childhood education in Australia. In Feminism (s) in Early Childhood (pp. 11-24). Springer, Singapore.

Daniel, G. (2015). Patterns of parent involvement: A longitudinal analysis of family-school partnerships in the early years of school in Australia. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 40(1), 119.

Davis, L. (2017). Children's rights in Australia: How advocating through pedagogy and practices can help create a generation of active child citizens. Every Child, 23(2), 12.

Elliott, S., McCrea, N., Newsome, L., & Gaul, J. (2016). Examining environmental education in NSW early childhood education services: A literature review with findings from the field. Sydney, Australia: NSW Office of Environment & Heritage Environmental Trust.(This study and report was funded by the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage Environmental Trust).

Farrell, A. (2018). Children’s Rights to Healthy Development and Learning in Quality Early Childhood Education and Care in Australia. In Positive Schooling and Child Development (pp. 383-398). Springer, Singapore.

Gambaro, L., & Stewart, K. (Eds.). (2014). An equal start?: Providing quality early education and care for disadvantaged children. Policy Press.

Hadley, F., Waniganayake, M., & Shepherd, W. (2015). Contemporary practice in professional learning and development of early childhood educators in Australia: reflections on what works and why. Professional development in education, 41(2), 187-202.

Hildenbrand, C., Niklas, F., Cohrssen, C., & Tayler, C. (2017). Children’s mathematical and verbal competence in different early education and care programmes in Australia. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 15(2), 144-157.

Inoue, M., O'Gorman, L., & Davis, J. (2016). Investigating early childhood teachers’ understandings of and practices in education for sustainability in Queensland: A Japan-Australia research collaboration. Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 32(2), 174-191.

Le Cornu, R. (2015). Key components of effective professional experience in initial teacher education in Australia. Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, Melbourne.

Mockler, N. (2018). Early career teachers in Australia: a critical policy historiography. Journal of Education Policy, 33(2), 262-278.

O’Connor, M., Gray, S., Tarasuik, J., O’Connor, E., Kvalsvig, A., Incledon, E., & Goldfeld, S. (2016). Preschool attendance trends in Australia: Evidence from two sequential population cohorts. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 35, 31-39.

O'Connor, M., O'Connor, E. J., Kvalsvig, A., & Goldfeld, S. (2014). The relationship between early childhood education and care and English proficiency at school entry for bilingual children in Australia. New Zealand Research in Early Childhood Education, (17), 161.

Slemp, G. R., Chin, T. C., Kern, M. L., Siokou, C., Loton, D., Oades, L. G., ... & Waters, L. (2017). Positive education in Australia: Practice, measurement, and future directions. In Social and Emotional Learning in Australia and the Asia-Pacific (pp. 101-122). Springer, Singapore.

Smith, K., Tesar, M., & Myers, C. Y. (2016). Edu-capitalism and the governing of early childhood education and care in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Global Studies of Childhood, 6(1), 123-135.

Watson, S., Badagawa, G., Hunt, J., & Lica, C. (2018). Using Education Diplomacy to Create Networks of Business Champions for Early Childhood: Models from Australia, Romania, Uganda, and the United States. Childhood Education, 94(3), 90-95.

Wolfenden, L., Finch, M., Nathan, N., Weaver, N., Wiggers, J., Yoong, S. L., ... & Gillham, K. (2015). Factors associated with early childhood education and care service implementation of healthy eating and physical activity policies and practices in Australia: a cross-sectional study. Translational behavioral medicine, 5(3), 327-334.

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