The new strain of the COVID-19 virus was first discovered in South East Asia when a 45-person cluster got infected in Malaysia from a traveller who returned from India and breached his 14-day quarantine. The Philippines detected the strain among random COVID-19 samples in the largest city of its capital region. Since then, the world has been struggling to cope with the mutation that seems to be far more infectious.
The mutation called D614G makes a small but effective change in the virus’s spike protein, which the virus uses to enter the human cell. “The mutation is said to have a higher possibility of transmission or infectiousness, but we still don’t have enough solid evidence to say that that will happen,” Philippines’ Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual briefing.
The strain has been found in many other countries and has become the predominant variant in Europe and the US but the World Health Organization says there is no evidence the strain leads to more severe disease.
There’s no evidence from the epidemiology that the mutation is considerably more infectious than other strains, said Benjamin Cowling, head of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Hong Kong. “It’s more commonly identified now than it was in the past, which suggests that it might have some kind of competitive advantage over other strains of Covid-19.”
Managing the pandemic at a national and global level is extremely difficult at it is being done in an environment cynicism of public health institutions. Data breaches of hospitals, health facilities and similar databases have been a fairly regular occurrence.
National responses to outbreaks vary greatly from country to country and there have been conflicting messages between leaders, health agencies and experts. These have fostered increased concern and confusion in the wider population. As Southeast Asian countries take various steps to prevent a resurgence while reopening limited travel, they struggle with people breaching quarantine rules after returning from overseas as well as false-negative test results at borders.
The delays in rolling out available vaccines and the discovery of new strains have forced a number to countries to go into lockdowns again and enforce stricter social distancing norms and restrictions.
In an increasingly tech-dependent and tech-driven world, it is pertinent that the healthcare sector explores new technologies to provide information, options and advice. Citizens need safe and secure solutions that can help them track, monitor and manage risk from the virus and also help them go out for work and fulfil essential tasks of daily life.
Novel technologies and platforms, of course, have been launched to help inform citizens on testing, care and movement. The most well-known of these would be contact tracing and symptom-reporting apps, some of which are increasingly being deployed by local and national public health agencies.
Liberty and Passage is one such solution for this persisting problem. Developed by Access Anywhere, the total outbreak management system combines several cutting edge technologies on one platform that can be used across various sectors including airports, cruise lines, immigration and tourism boards. It is a useful tool for all industries to restart their business.
Using AI and ML, Liberty & Passage has been designed to help provide relevant timely information and build the confidence required to restart free movement between countries and continents, giving travellers when crossing borders and authority’s confidence when processing foreign visitors at customs.
With these critical features, Liberty & Passage is an outbreak management solution for individuals, organisations, and the entire travel industry.
The platform is designed for the entire population with Liberty Open designed to manage personal risk, Liberty Corporate for organisations to ensure a safe return to work and Liberty Passage for travel and reopening of borders. Everyone gains from the vast insights the system provides to be able to go about their normal lives while keeping as safe as possible against this virulent threat.
By joining the three pillars together, ‘the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts’ giving the general public, employees and travellers freedom to move with confidence and a more intelligent understanding of their risk exposure using cutting edge technology.
Tech innovation is helping to manage the pandemic and better equip countries when dealing with the current public health emergency and for future public health emergencies. Outbreak management systems will be the key in building confidence, mitigating risk and enhancing safety in everyday life.
For more information on how the Liberty Solution works – please visit www.libertyandpassage.com
Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Defence, Heng Chee How, and Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and Health, Dr Janil Puthucheary, recently visited the Critical Infrastructure Defence Exercise (CIDeX) 2023, underscoring the government’s commitment to fortifying national cybersecurity.
The exercise, held at the National University of Singapore School of Computing, witnessed over 200 participants engaging in operational technology (OT) critical infrastructure defence training.
Organised by the Digital and Intelligence Service (DIS) and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), with support from iTrust/SUTD and the National Cybersecurity R&D Laboratory (NCL), CIDeX 2023 marked a collaborative effort to enhance Whole-Of-Government (WoG) cyber capabilities. The exercise focused on detecting and countering cyber threats to both Information Technology (IT) and OT networks governing critical infrastructure sectors.
This year’s edition boasted participation from DIS, CSA, and 24 other national agencies across six Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) sectors. With an expanded digital infrastructure comprising six enterprise IT networks and three new OT testbeds, participants operated on six OT testbeds within key sectors—power, water, telecom, and aviation.
CIDeX 2023 featured Blue Teams, composed of national agency participants serving as cyber defenders, defending their digital infrastructure against simulated cyber-attacks launched by a composite Red Team comprising DIS, CSA, DSTA, and IMDA personnel. The exercises simulated attacks on both IT and OT networks, including scenarios such as overloading an airport substation, disrupting water distribution, and shutting down a gas plant.
The exercise provided a platform for participants to hone their technical competencies, enhance collaboration, and share expertise across agencies. Before CIDeX, participants underwent a five-day hands-on training programme at the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)’s Cyber Defence Test and Evaluation Centre (CyTEC) at Stagmont Camp, ensuring readiness for cyber defence challenges.
On the sidelines of CIDeX 2023, the DIS solidified cyber collaboration by signing Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with key technology sector partners, expanding its partnerships beyond the earlier agreement with Microsoft earlier in the year.
Senior Minister Heng emphasised the importance of inter-agency cooperation, stating, “CIDeX is a platform where we bring together many agencies throughout the government to come together to learn how to defend together.” He highlighted the collective effort involving 26 agencies and over 200 participants, acknowledging the significance of unity in cybersecurity.
Dr Janil echoed this sentiment, emphasising CIDeX’s role in the Whole-of-Government (WoG) cyber defence effort. He remarked, “Defending Singapore’s cyberspace is not an easy task, and it is a team effort.”
He commended the strong partnership between the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore and the Digital and Intelligence Service, recognising the exercise as a crucial element in strengthening the nation’s digital resilience and national cybersecurity posture.
By leveraging collaboration, innovation, and a robust defence strategy, Singapore aims not just to protect its critical infrastructure but to set a global standard in cybersecurity practices.
CIDeX 2023 serves as a compelling embodiment of Singapore’s unwavering dedication to maintaining a leadership position in cybersecurity practices. This strategic exercise underscores the nation’s commitment to cultivating collaboration and fortifying its resilience against continually evolving cyber threats.
Beyond a training ground for sharpening the skills of cyber defenders, CIDeX 2023 encapsulates the government’s profound commitment to adopting a robust, collaborative, and forward-thinking approach to safeguarding the integrity and security of the nation’s critical infrastructure in the dynamic landscape of the digital age.
The 21st century is frequently called the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI), prompting questions about its societal implications. It actively transforms numerous processes across various domains, and research ethics (RE) is no exception. Multiple challenges, encompassing accountability, privacy, and openness, are emerging.
Research Ethics Boards (REBs) have been instituted to guarantee adherence to ethical standards throughout research. This scoping review seeks to illuminate the challenges posed by AI in research ethics and assess the preparedness of REBs in evaluating these challenges. Ethical guidelines and standards for AI development and deployment are essential to address these concerns.
To sustain this awareness, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), a part of the Department of Energy, has joined the Trillion Parameter Consortium (TPC), a global collaboration of scientists, researchers, and industry professionals. The consortium aimed to address the challenges of building large-scale artificial intelligence (AI) systems and advancing trustworthy and reliable AI for scientific discovery.
ORNL’s collaboration with TPC aligns seamlessly with its commitment to developing secure, reliable, and energy-efficient AI, complementing the consortium’s emphasis on responsible AI. With over 300 researchers utilising AI to address Department of Energy challenges and hosting the world’s most powerful supercomputer, Frontier, ORNL is well-equipped to significantly contribute to the consortium’s objectives.
Leveraging its AI research and extensive resources, the laboratory will be crucial in addressing challenges such as constructing large-scale generative AI models for scientific and engineering problems. Specific tasks include creating scalable model architectures, implementing effective training strategies, organising and curating data for model training, optimising AI libraries for exascale computing platforms, and evaluating progress in scientific task learning, reliability, and trust.
TPC strives to build an open community of researchers developing advanced large-scale generative AI models for scientific and engineering progress. The consortium plans to voluntarily initiate, manage, and coordinate projects to prevent redundancy and enhance impact. Additionally, TPC seeks to establish a global network of resources and expertise to support the next generation of AI, uniting researchers focused on large-scale AI applications in science and engineering.
Prasanna Balaprakash, ORNL R&D staff scientist and director of the lab’s AI Initiative, said, “ORNL envisions being a critical resource for the consortium and is committed to ensuring the future of AI across the scientific spectrum.”
Further, as an international organisation that supports education, science, and culture, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has established ten principles of AI ethics regarding scientific research.
- Beneficence: AI systems should be designed to promote the well-being of individuals, communities, and the environment.
- Non-maleficence: AI systems should avoid causing harm to individuals, communities, and the environment.
- Autonomy: Individuals should have the right to control their data and to make their own decisions about how AI systems are used.
- Justice: AI systems should be designed to be fair, equitable, and inclusive.
- Transparency: AI systems’ design, operation, and outcomes should be transparent and explainable.
- Accountability: There should be clear lines of responsibility for developing, deploying, and using AI systems.
- Privacy: The privacy of individuals should be protected when data is collected, processed, and used by AI systems.
- Data security: Data used by AI systems should be secure and protected from unauthorised access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction.
- Human oversight: AI systems should be subject to human management and control.
- Social and environmental compatibility: AI systems should be designed to be compatible with social and ecological values.
Since 1979, ORNL’s AI research has gained a portfolio with the launch of the Oak Ridge Applied Artificial Intelligence Project to ensure the alignment of UNESCO principles. Today, the AI Initiative focuses on developing secure, trustworthy, and energy-efficient AI across various applications, showcasing the laboratory’s commitment to advancing AI in fields ranging from biology to national security. The collaboration with TPC reinforces ORNL’s dedication to driving breakthroughs in large-scale scientific AI, aligning with the world agenda in implementing AI ethics.
The Chief Dental Officer of the Ministry of Health (MOH), Associate Prof Chng Chai Kiat highlighted their role in fostering collaboration, exploring innovation and propelling oral health into the future. Digitalisation, a key element of this transformation, takes centre stage providing a vibrant space for scientists to delve into technological advancements shaping the future of oral health.
Over the next few days, 60 local and international speakers will unravel cutting-edge technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), digital dentistry, biomaterials, orofacial devices, therapeutics, and more.
Oral diseases, affecting 3.5 billion globally, not only compromise health but also pose a substantial economic burden. In Singapore, the 2019/2020 National Adult Oral Health Survey revealed high prevalence rates, emphasising the need for effective strategies.
Assoc Prof Chng underlined the significance of oral health surveillance studies, crucial for policymaking and health system planning, while research becomes a driver for innovation in delivering quality oral care.
Population health takes precedence, aligning with Singapore’s healthcare reform through the Healthier SG initiative. The ageing population becomes a focal point, prompting the need for preventive care to ensure good oral health. Population oral health studies become instrumental in understanding responses to interventions across generations, contributing to effective policymaking.
A notable endeavour is the SG70 cohort study, “Towards Healthy Longevity,” integrating oral health research into mainstream public health initiatives. Led by the National University of Singapore, it examines the effects of biological, lifestyle, and socioeconomic factors on healthy ageing. A representative sample of 3,000 Singaporeans aged 70 and older will be followed for the next 10 to 15 years.
Digital dentistry solutions take a leap forward with the ongoing development of a clinically integrated workflow to produce removable partial dentures efficiently. Spearheaded by SingHealth-Duke NUS Medical School, this research proposal employs 3D dental prosthesis printing, biomaterials, and regenerative dentistry, catering to the oral needs of an ageing population.
Industry collaboration has become integral, and a noteworthy example is the development of an antiseptic mouth rinse with anti-viral properties. Originating during the COVID-19 pandemic, the study by the National Dental Centre Singapore has successfully partnered with a homegrown oral care brand, showcasing a synergy between oral health research expertise and industry knowledge.
Digital dentistry solutions have revolutionised dental practices by offering precision, efficiency, and enhanced patient experiences. Utilising advanced technologies such as intraoral scanners and CAD/CAM systems, these solutions ensure precise measurements and accurate diagnoses.
Digital workflows streamline traditional processes, significantly reducing chair time and enabling same-day restorations. This benefits practitioners in terms of time efficiency and enhances the overall patient experience, as digital impressions replace traditional materials, providing a more comfortable and less intrusive procedure.
Customisation and aesthetics are paramount in modern dentistry, and digital tools like CAD/CAM systems allow for the creation of highly customised dental prosthetics tailored to individual patient anatomy. The precise colour-matching capabilities of digital technologies contribute to restorations that closely resemble natural teeth, achieving superior aesthetic outcomes.
Additionally, improved communication between dental professionals is facilitated through digital platforms, enabling seamless collaboration on multidisciplinary cases. The ease of sharing digital records with laboratories, specialists, and other team members fosters better coordination in delivering comprehensive patient care.
Beyond the immediate benefits, digital dentistry offers long-term advantages such as cost-effectiveness, as reduced material costs and increased efficiency offset initial investments.
The accessibility and secure storage of digital patient records contribute to better continuity of care, while ongoing technological advancements, including the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D printing, ensure that dental practices remain at the forefront of emerging trends.
Hence, digital dentistry has become an essential component of modern dental care, providing practitioners with tools to deliver high-quality, patient-centred services in a technologically advanced environment.
In a significant move aimed at fortifying the nation’s technological landscape, the Vietnam Authority of Information Security (AIS) has underscored the non-negotiable nature of cybersecurity in the current digital landscape.
Emphasising the indispensability of robust cybersecurity measures, the AIS recommended stringent adherence to these protocols across agencies, institutions, and businesses. In today’s digital landscape, the confluence of telecommunications and IT has redefined the contours of security, compelling institutions and businesses to recalibrate their approach to information security.
A workshop dedicated to IT and information security held in Hanoi spotlighted the criticality of information security investment for the digital future. A collaborative effort between AIS, Viettel Cyber Security, and IEC Group, the summit aimed at empowering institutions and businesses to proactively anticipate risks and navigate confidently through the complexities of the digital landscape.
Highlighting the severity of the situation, Nguyen Son Hai, CEO of Viettel Cyber Security observes that the digital transformation wave brings a torrent of information security risks. Viettel Threat Intelligence, for instance, reported 12 million hacked accounts within Vietnam, with 48 million data records compromised and traded in the cyberspace market. Moreover, the stark reality is that numerous entities remain unaware of being under cyberattack.
Financial fraud looms large on this precarious horizon. An alarming revelation showcases the exploitation of 5,800 domain names masquerading as commercial banks, e-wallets, manufacturing firms, and retail giants, posing a severe threat to users’ assets through deceitful means.
Ransomware, an escalating menace, presents formidable challenges to organisations and businesses. Its disruptive potential can cripple entire operations, with cybercriminals extorting exorbitant sums, sometimes reaching millions of dollars, from their victims.
Nguyen Son Hai highlighted the 300 GB of encrypted organisational data published on the Internet, indicating that the actual figures are likely higher, underlining the gravity of the situation.
Tran Dang Khoa from AIS stressed the perennial existence of information security risks, underscoring the urgent need for effective solutions. He outlined five pivotal criteria for cybersecurity solutions: legality, effectiveness, appropriateness, comprehensiveness, and a crucial emphasis on utilising solutions originating from Vietnam.
The paramount importance of legal compliance within cybersecurity frameworks cannot be overstated. Organisations providing online services bear a heightened responsibility to ensure compliance, as information security is mandated by law. Straying from these regulations can render entities liable in the event of security breaches.
Despite substantial investments in sophisticated protection systems, the efficacy of these measures remains questionable if they cannot detect and avert cyberattacks. The challenge lies in optimising system efficiency while rationalising costs – an arduous task that cybersecurity firms endeavour to address.
Khoa acknowledges the need to address existing vulnerabilities alongside fortifying against new threats. Neglecting existing risks within systems, and waiting for opportune moments for cyber assailants, poses significant dangers. Pre-emptive measures must focus on rectifying known vulnerabilities before investing in additional protective tools.
Khoa highlighted that vulnerabilities often emanate not from direct cyberattacks but from individuals within organisations possessing inadequate technological proficiency. Exploiting these individuals can cascade attacks throughout systems, amplifying vulnerabilities exponentially.
Empowering all personnel within organisations with robust cybersecurity knowledge and skills emerges as a pivotal defence mechanism. Khoa accentuated the criticality of imparting such knowledge to safeguard information systems comprehensively.
Furthermore, advocating for the utilisation of ‘Make in Vietnam’ products, solutions, and services assumes significance. Homegrown solutions tailored to address the specific intricacies of Vietnamese organisations offer unique advantages. These domestic solutions not only offer timely support but also demonstrate a deep understanding of local challenges, aiding in swift problem resolution.
As businesses and institutions navigate this dynamic digital terrain, the proactive integration of these strategies is pivotal in safeguarding against the multifaceted threats that loom large in the era of digital proliferation.
All institutions rely on IT to deliver services. Disruption, degradation, or unauthorised alteration of information and systems can impact an institution’s condition, core processes, and risk profile. Furthermore, organisations are expected to make quick decisions due to the rapid pace of dynamic transformation. To stay competitive, data is a crucial resource for tackling this challenge.
Hence, data protection is paramount in safeguarding the integrity and confidentiality of this invaluable resource. Organisations must implement robust security measures to prevent unauthorised access, data breaches, and other cyber threats that could compromise sensitive information.
Prasert Chandraruangthong, Minister of Digital Economy and Society, supports the National Agenda in fortifying personal data protection with Asst Prof Dr Veerachai Atharn, Assistant Director of the National Science and Technology Development Agency, Science Park, and Dr Siwa Rak Siwamoksatham, Secretary-General of the Personal Data Protection Committee, gave a welcome speech. It marks that the training aims to bolster the knowledge about data protection among the citizens of Thailand.
Data protection is not only for the organisation, but it also becomes responsible for the individuals, Minister Prasert Chandraruangthong emphasises. Thailand has collaboratively developed a comprehensive plan regarding the measures to foster a collective defence against cyber threats towards data privacy.
The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society and the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) will expedite efforts to block illegal trading of personal information. Offenders will be actively pursued, prosecuted, and arrested to ensure a swift and effective response in safeguarding the privacy and security of individuals’ data.
This strategy underscores the government’s commitment to leveraging digital technology to fortify data protection measures and create a safer online environment for all citizens by partnering with other entities.
Further, many countries worldwide share these cybersecurity concerns. In Thailand’s neighbouring country, Indonesia, the government has noticed that data privacy is a crucial aspect that demands attention. Indonesia has recognised the paramount importance of safeguarding individuals’ privacy and has taken significant steps to disseminate stakeholders to gain collaborative effort in fortifying children’s security.
Nezar Patria, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Communication and Information of Indonesia, observed that children encounter abundant online information and content. It can significantly lead them to unwanted exposure and potential risks as artificial intelligence has evolved.
Patria stressed the crucial role of AI, emphasising the importance of implementing automatic content filters and moderation to counteract harmful content. AI can be used to detect cyberbullying through security measures and by recognising the patterns of cyberbullying perpetrators. It can also identify perpetrators of online violence through behavioural detection in the digital space and enhance security and privacy protection. Moreover, AI can assist parents in monitoring screen time, ensuring that children maintain a balanced and healthy level of engagement with digital devices.
Conversely, the presence of generative AI technology, such as deep fake, enables the manipulation of photo or video content, potentially leading to the creation of harmful material with children as victims. Patria urged collaborative discussions among all stakeholders involved in related matters to harness AI technology for the advancement and well-being of children in Indonesia.
In the realm of digital advancements, cybersecurity is the priority right now. Through public awareness campaigns, workshops, and training initiatives, nations aim to empower citizens with the knowledge to identify, prevent, and respond to cyber threats effectively. The ongoing commitment to cybersecurity reflects the country’s dedication to ensuring a secure and thriving digital future for its citizens and the broader digital community.
The introduction of the E-Travel Customs System at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in conjunction with key stakeholders represents a significant stride in the direction of enhancing national security and streamlining customs processes in the Philippines.
This transformative system, developed in coordination with the Bureau of Immigration (BI), the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), marks a significant leap in digitising data collection processes for travellers and crew members arriving in and departing from the Philippines.
The integration of the Electronic Customs Baggage Declaration Form (e-CBDF) and Electronic Currencies Declaration Form (e-CDF) into the BI’s eTravel System is a pivotal step in the evolution of border control practices. This collaborative initiative aims to optimise customs procedures, bolster health surveillance, and facilitate in-depth economic data analysis.
The E-Travel Customs System, a unified digital data collection platform, streamlines the passenger experience at airport terminals. Its standout feature is the integration of the Electronic Customs Baggage and Currency Declaration interface, formerly part of the BOC’s I-Declare System, introduced last year.
Travellers and crew members can now utilise a user-friendly, single web portal that consolidates the border control requirements of the Bureau of Quarantine, BOC, BI and the BSP.
This not only enhances the overall passenger experience but also enables the BOC to receive advanced information for effective risk profiling. Besides, the timely sharing of information with AMLC and BSP strengthens the nation’s commitment to combat money laundering and ensure financial security.
BOC Commissioner Bienvenido Y Rubio expressed confidence in the E-Travel Customs System’s potential to revolutionise customs processes, stating, “This collaborative initiative demonstrates our commitment to innovation and efficiency in customs management.”
The E-Travel Customs System will play a pivotal role in ensuring the security of the borders and fostering a seamless travel experience for all. Commissioner Bienvenido added that they are dedicated to advancing the customs practices, aligning with global standards, and safeguarding the interests of the nation.
The BOC cited that the E-Travel Customs System stands as a testament to the government’s dedication to providing cutting-edge solutions for border control, aligning with international standards, and advancing towards a more secure and efficient customs environment. The collaborative efforts of the BOC, BI, AMLC, BSP, and DICT signify a commitment to innovation, ensuring that the Philippines remains at the forefront of modern customs practices.
The E-Travel Customs System represents a paradigm shift in customs management, transcending mere technological enhancement. It stands as a strategic initiative meticulously designed to reshape and fortify customs practices, infusing them with agility, heightened security, and alignment with global best practices. This innovative system is not merely an upgrade; it is a holistic approach aimed at ushering in a new era of efficiency and adaptability in customs operations.
As the Philippines embraces this technological leap into the future of border control, it reaffirms its unwavering commitment to establishing a customs environment that goes beyond traditional boundaries. The system’s multifaceted capabilities, ranging from streamlined data collection to real-time risk profiling, showcase its transformative potential.
By prioritising technological advancements, the nation aims to enhance the overall travel experience, reduce procedural bottlenecks, and strengthen its position in global efforts to ensure secure and seamless border management.
The Western Australian government has unveiled a comprehensive set of measures aimed at reducing bureaucratic hurdles, alleviating work burdens, and fostering a conducive environment for educators to focus on teaching. The region’s Education Minister, Dr Tony Buti, spearheading this initiative, took into account the insights from two pivotal reports and explored the potential of AI tools to revamp policies and processes.
In the wake of an in-depth review into bureaucratic complexities earlier this year, Minister Buti carefully considered the outcomes of the Department of Education’s “Understanding and Reducing the Workload of Teachers and Leaders in Western Australian Public Schools” review and the State School Teachers’ Union’s “Facing the Facts” report. Both reports shed light on the escalating intricacies of teaching and the primary factors contributing to workloads for educators, school leaders, and institutions.
Embracing technology as a key driver for change, the government is contemplating the adoption of AI, drawing inspiration from successful trials in other Australian states. The objective is to modernise and enhance the efficiency of professional learning, lesson planning, marking, and assessment development. AI tools also hold promise in automating tasks such as excursion planning, meeting preparations, and general correspondence, thereby mitigating the burden on teachers.
Collaborating with the School Curriculum and Standards Authority, as well as the independent and Catholic sectors, the government aims to explore AI applications to streamline curriculum planning and elevate classroom teaching. The integration of AI is envisioned to usher in a new era of educational efficiency.
In consultation with unions, associations, principals, teachers, and administrative staff, the Department of Education has identified a range of strategies to immediately, in the short term, and in the long term, alleviate the workload for public school educators.
Among these strategies, a noteworthy allocation of AU$2.26 million is earmarked for a trial involving 16 Complex Behaviour Support Coordinators. These coordinators will collaborate with public school leaders to tailor educational programs for students with disabilities and learning challenges.
Furthermore, a pioneering pilot project, jointly funded by State and Federal Governments, seeks to digitise paper-based school forms, reducing red tape and providing a consistent, accessible, and efficient method for sharing information online. Each digital submission is anticipated to save 30 minutes of staff time compared to its paper-based counterpart. Additionally, efforts are underway to simplify the process related to the exclusion of public school students while enhancing support to schools.
As part of the broader effort to support schools, the ‘Connect and Respect’ program, outlining expectations for appropriate relationships with teachers, is set to undergo expansion. This expansion includes the creation of out-of-office templates, and establishing boundaries on when it is acceptable to contact staff after working hours. The overarching goal is to minimise misunderstandings and conflicts, fostering a healthier work-life balance for teaching staff.
The Education Minister expressed his commitment to reducing administrative tasks that divert teachers from their core mission of educating students. Acknowledging the pervasive nature of this challenge, the Minister emphasised the government’s determination to create optimal conditions for school staff to focus on their primary roles.
In his remarks, the Minister underscored the significance of these initiatives, emphasising their positive impact in ensuring that teachers can dedicate their time and energy to helping every student succeed. The unveiled measures represent a pivotal step toward realising the government’s vision of a streamlined, technology-enhanced educational landscape that prioritises the well-being of educators and, ultimately, the success of students.