Welcome to Youth+
A nation's most valuable resource is its young people. Young people represent our national future and embody national prosperity. All young people require equal access to educational achievement that befits their innate ability no matter if they are from urban, rural or remote communities, no matter if they are from low socioeconomic backgrounds, indigenous, homeless, a refugee, in the juvenile justice system, a young parent or in the care of the state. This nation must rise with compassion and justice to the complex challenges of our history, to understand the impact of colonialism, to challenge hegemonic controls and to provide equity of access. We will not only be measured by our response to these complex equity issues but will create a future educational landscape that is grounded in equality, justice and liberation. A future view of the nation I am sure we all hold dearly.
Edmund Rice Education Australia Youth+ is responding to the signs of the times by embracing the legacy of compassion, liberation and presence, gifted to us from the founder, Edmund Rice. This gift allows our work as guests in the lives of the young people and families/carers we serve.
Our nation, like many other minority first world cultures, faces ongoing challenges in engaging an ever increasing number of young people that for complex social, historical, political and economic reasons are outside mainstream schooling environments.
With some 60,000 young Australians currently engaged in flexible or alternative educational environments and potentially many other thousands disengaged from learning altogether, the nation faces challenges to fulfil one of the essential goals of the Melbourne Declaration on educational goals for young Australians (2008) that is:
"A commitment to action, improving educational outcomes for Indigenous youth and disadvantaged young Australians, especially those from low socioeconomic backgrounds".
In all minority first world nations, hegemonic factors of capital, competition and class structure play a determining role in educational equity and success. The starting place for success on the educational landscape is not so much personal ability but rather socio-economic habitat. Consequently some young Australians are not given the same chances as others. Clear examples include urban, rural and remote indigenous young people, young people experiencing degrees of homelessness, young people in the juvenile justice system and young people in the care of state and territory systems. Many of these young people and a wide range of others who are disenfranchised have the common factor of experiencing marginalisation from mainstream educational environments.
It is at the "edges" of educational landscapes where we often find evidence of innovation. The spaces that cater for those outside the mainstream are spaces that by necessity are experimental, challenge dominant paradigms and offer habitats of inclusion, justice and equity. All first world minority nations have these spaces as these communities are subject to the legacy of an industrial model of education that functions as a sorting mechanism. It is in these communities of radical practice and acceptance where evidence of access to equity may be found.
Youth+ responds to invitations from community, is founded in the legacy of Edmund Rice, embraces the EREA Charter and walks in partnership with young people, families and carers seeking liberation, justice,