Can the Gold Coast lead the world in education innovation?

What does the future of education look like in a post-industrial age? And how can the Gold Coast be a world leader in that sector?

Those are just two of the questions that the organisers of next week’s Big Blue Sky event hope to answer with the help of us – the local community – as well as national and international business leaders, government, entrepreneurs, students, and creatives.

Lou McGregor, a co-founder of Big Blue Sky asks: “How do our leaders in education best guide our leaders of tomorrow in the directions that are most relevant in this post-industrial world, whilst retaining the qualities of what it means to be, act and engage wholly as a human being that will have a positive impact on society?”


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Some of the educational experts who will be leading the conversations to answer these questions at the event at Sofitel Broadbeach next Friday and Saturday will be Griffith University’s Professor Donna Pendergast, and Principal of Emmanuel College Patrick Innes-Hill.

They’ll be encouraging Big Blue Sky attendees to come up with “Moonshot projects” – big, bold ideas – that can help the Gold Coast to become one of the best, most forward-thinking educational cities in the world.

Mr Dean Gould from Griffith University told myGC why the university was sponsoring the Big Blue Sky event.

“Big Blue Sky is a natural extension of [Griffith being a thought leader on the Gold Coast] – it’s taking that thought leadership into the community, seeking input from a diverse group of people, digesting and distilling these ideas and hopefully coming up with solutions.

“All universities in Australia are very aware of the need to continue to evolve and improve. We have to accept that we’re doing a pretty good job in most areas, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have areas we need to improve. And delivering graduates who have the skills and knowledge to learn in a continually learning environment is what we want from this next generation,” said Mr Gould.

The City of Gold Coast already has a strategy to diversify the city’s primary industries from tourism and construction – which can be heavily influenced by factors out of our control – to other sectors including health, sport and education.

That strategy includes increasing the number of international students studying in our city from 17,000 to 28,000 over the coming years. And already we’re seeing action in this space with Mayor Tom Tate, currently in China, signing agreements with the cities of Chengdu and Sanya for them to encourage more of their students to undertake further education at Gold Coast universities.

Councillor Gary Baildon said that selling our city as a great place to study wouldn’t be hard.

“Just look what we have here,” he said, “the sky is blue as blue the surf’s breaking and everyone is having a great time,” he said.

“But it’s not just about having a great time, it’s also about the important things in life, like education.”

And with the city already boasting three universities – Griffith University, Bond University, and Southern Cross University – it’s now a matter of coming up with new ideas that will make our educational systems the envy of the world.

To be a part of this event, buy your tickets online now. Save $55 if you purchase them before Friday 30 September 2016.