The purpose of the education system is to promote wellbeing in students and in our society.
Academic skills and knowledge are essential and there is much evidence supporting the connection between higher levels of education and wellbeing for both individual and economies. But we must emphasise models for teaching social, emotional, creative and physical intelligence as much as academic intelligence in order to produce truly well-rounded people.
Our policies for improvements include:
- Mindfulness training
- Emotional intelligence training - such as self-esteem, mental health, understanding emotions, the benefits of purpose and connection
- Allowing students to identify their unique gifts
- Exposure to evidence based strategies about wellbeing and life choices
- Detailed study of role models
- Communication skills including navigating vulnerability and building empathy
Our current education system is highly focused on performance testing. Testing is useful and can provide incentives to pupils and their teachers for improvement. But performance on tests are not a fully objective measure of learning. There is evidence that heavy emphasis on testing can harm outcomes for original thinking, experimentation and innovation. Our policy must be to value students for their unique potential as well as their performance against targets. Emphasis on tests and targets can also limit the creativity of teachers and their ability to inspire the curiosity and imagination in their students.
An case study of students being encouraged to seek their unique gifts can be found in Templestowe College (high school) where even first year students choose one third of their subjects. There are no compulsory subjects after completion of foundation literacy, numeracy and science.
The Wellbeing Party also advocates for the expansion of government funding for university education with a goal to achieve free tertiary education by 2030. Wellbeing research commonly shows links between higher education levels and higher income, better health, better employment opportunities. University education in particular has a strong positive effect on subjective wellbeing scores.
A lifelong education system that promotes wellbeing and flourishing as its highest goal is the key to a more flourishing society.