Students across NSW are waking up to their HSC results today.
Students across NSW are waking up to their HSC results today. Samantha Poate

HSC needs 'urgent overhaul' to get kids ready for adult life

SCHOOL education needs an urgent overhaul if young people finishing their Higher School Certificate are to be ready for work, further study and adult life, according to the state's peak business organisation, the NSW Business Chamber.

The chamber's Northern Rivers regional manager, Jane Laverty, said it was time to question whether the stress of the HSC process was worth it.

"Earlier today, thousands of young people across New South Wales woke up at the crack of dawn to view their HSC results," she said.

"While some will be elated, many will be disappointed by the outcome of many months of hard work and may also be worried about the effect their HSC results will have on their future.

"This year marks the 50th year of the HSC and since its introduction in 1967 much has changed.

"The world has shifted from an industrial to the digital age, and business is calling for transferable 'enterprise' skills rather than the subject matter expertise borne of rote learning.

"The HSC also remains overwhelmingly geared toward the needs of students who plan to go on to university, rather than recognising the achievements and capabilities of the majority of students who proceed to vocational training, an apprenticeship, traineeship or straight into fulltime work."

Ms Laverty said the chamber's report, Old School/New School: Transforming school education for the 21st century, showed that the HSC, and school education in general, needed a rethink.

The main ideas in the report are:

  • Identifying an entire region in NSW to pilot proven teaching and learning approaches to scale, instead of limiting innovation to one or two schools
  • Publishing longitudinal data tracking student progress and outcomes
  • Revamping the HSC as a final credential that recognises different modes of achievement and sets all students on the right pathway to work
  • Support teacher development through professional learning hubs, supported by an opt-in mentoring program
  • Ensuring every child in every school can access the support services they need, including comprehensive careers advice and an industry-led mentoring program for high risk students
  • Integrating enterprise skills within the school curriculum and measuring their attainment from Year 9 on.

For more information on the NSW Business Chamber's report and Old School/New School campaign, visit

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