The Future is Listening – Catholic education community gathers in Melbourne for national conference

01 Sep 2022

By The Record

Photos: Supplied.

More than 1,300 delegates including educators, clergy and religious, students, parents, academics and others will gather in Melbourne next week (4-7 September) for the 2022 National Catholic Education Conference.

National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) Executive Director Jacinta Collins says this is the first time in six years that a national gathering will be held.

‘We’re very excited to have the opportunity to come together after the pandemic delayed our conference by two years,’ Jacinta said.

“While 95 per cent of delegates will be attending in person, we are also offering virtual participation to cater to those who prefer not to travel at this time,” she said.

Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS) Executive Director Jim Miles says he looks forward to welcoming delegates to Melbourne.

“We are delighted to co-host this significant event with the NCEC and play a key role in helping shape a bold and ambitious future for the students, staff and families who make up our Catholic school communities across the country,” he said.

“Catholic schools give Australian families the choice of a high quality, faith-based, holistic and affordable education.”

The full range of topics to continuously improve outcomes for our students and families will be covered across the three day program, including Catholic identity and mission, leadership and governance, learning and teaching, student wellbeing, and parent engagement.

“We are honoured that the Federal Education Minister, Jason Clare MP, and Victorian Minister for Education, Natalie Hutchins MP, will address delegates.

“As both are new to their portfolios, we are looking forward to them outlining Labor’s vision for education at a federal and state level and welcome their ongoing support for Catholic education,” Jacinta Collins said.

Fr Anthony Gittins, Professor of Theology and Culture, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, will join Madeline Forde, Australian representative, International Youth Advisory Body, Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, in giving the opening address, focusing on the theme of the conference, The Future is Listening.

Andreas Schleicher, OECD secretary general, Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), will present virtually educating learners for the future, and educational experts, Dr Simon Breakspear and Dr Peter Ellerton, will focus on supporting school and system change, curriculum and pedagogy.

Mental health and wellbeing expert, Professor Donna Cross will challenge delegates in the wake of the pandemic, ‘Are we listening to the changing nature of students’ mental health and wellbeing?’

Former Commissioner on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Robert Fitzgerald AM, will be speaking on governing for the vulnerable, and where the challenges now lie for child safety.