The Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, with (from left): Education Minister Rob Stokes; State Member for Parramatta, Geoff Lee; Department of Education Secretary Mark Scott; student performers and comperes, and the Principal of Parramatta Public School, Gail Charlier (far right).
Public education can be the springboard to the top job in New South Wales.
That was the message from the Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, as she launched Education Week celebrations today at Parramatta and Kiama public schools.
"I know that all schools across the state today are highlighting and celebrating what we all value in public education – where someone like me who couldn't speak a word of English when she started school has somehow ended up being the Premier of NSW," she said.
Ms Berejiklian said she had met many possible future leaders during her visit to Parramatta Public School and "couldn't be prouder, as your Premier, to witness the outstanding achievements of all the students across the state".
The dual school launch, linked via a live simulcast, focused on the theme of Education Week, Today's schools – creating tomorrow's world, which highlights how NSW public schools are equipping young people with the skills and capabilities they need to thrive in a rapidly changing world.
For the first time the launch was hosted entirely by primary school students and featured student performances from Eastwood Public School violinist Justine Zhang, Bossley Park High School soloist Ezra Loau and dancers from Hoxton Park Public School.
Year 8 students from Kiama High School – Alira Morgan, Jannali Morgan and Olivia Talbott – opened the celebration with an Acknowledgement of Country performed in language.
Keynote speeches were delivered from Kiama by Terara Public School Year 6 student Lucy Boundy, Molly Chapman, a Year 8 student at Dapto High School, and Nowra East Public School instructional leader Vishanti Govender.
Lucy told the launch that education was about opportunity: "Opportunity to learn, opportunity to improve and opportunity to make a difference."
In detailing her early struggles with learning, Molly said a more hands-on approach to study at her high school had a huge impact on her.
"I learn more effectively by seeing and doing things because it gets in my head more easily and pictures are worth a thousand words. Thanks to school, I'm exceeding in almost everything I touch," she said.
Education Minister Rob Stokes highlighted the "incredible legacy" of public schools on society, a role contemporary education and educators would play in the future.
"We are in a period of vast technological, social and economic change, and with that the role of education becomes more important, even bigger, and the challenge for teachers and students becomes more complex," he said.
"We need to provide training in those skills that recognise the future is uncertain and to train and encourage young people not just to be ready for the change that is coming but to be excited by it."