Dear AARE Members
I’d like to welcome all new and returning members to AARE. It is a tremendous privilege to begin my term as President of the Association. I look forward to meeting many of you throughout the year and particularly at our annual conference in Melbourne (November 26-30).
The year is already shaping up to be an important one for educational researchers and the education sector broadly. The field of education, covering everything from early childhood education through to tertiary, vocational and community education, has faced significant upheavals during the intense periods of COVID lockdowns and their aftermath. There are now some decisive points for renewal and for the Association to take a leading role in marking out those directions.
It is clear the federal government has education high on its agenda and is seeking reform across the spectrum, from a consequential shift in the funding of childcare to support the learning of our youngest, to reform of research funding agencies, to schools, the VET sector, to universities with reviews of Teacher Education and the Universities Accord. That spirit of renewal will lead to a range of opportunities on our shared horizon, a chance to support our members to contribute to public debate and for the Association itself to take a leading role. This is a moment to not only continue the kind of research which responds to the existing challenges in our field, but also to continue to expand our research into what is possible – to deal with the here and now but also to help reimagine our collective futures.
The demand for knowledge in our field is already high and that will only accelerate with the reset in our sector’s environment. Intellectually, this is an exciting time. The key to being able to build on that excitement and demand is the strength of our Association and the contributions of our members. We are facing challenges as a research field, but these are challenges we can both meet and help turn around.
A central question this year is how as education researchers we might take up the invitation from the authors of the Uluru statement to ‘walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future’? This fundamental question will be put to a national vote in late 2023 through a referendum on constitutional reform to establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to the Australian parliament. Throughout this year, AARE hopes to provide opportunities and resources to facilitate informed and respectful discussion of this critical reform, one that offers an opportunity address the effects of our colonial past and reset the future for Australia.
Thank you for your interest in and membership of AARE and your contributions to the life of the Association. I’m looking forward to hearing from you over the course of my term and beyond.
Prof Julie McLeod (President)