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Strengthening our Community: Building a Sustainable Future

Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is the main forum in Australia’s region that works to benefit all its members by facilitating economic growth and cooperation. APEC - Strengthening our Community: Building a Sustainable Future is a school curriculum resource written for teachers and students of Studies of Society and Environment (SOSE), the Humanities and English. The resource has been developed by the APEC 2007 Task Force of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in conjunction with Curriculum Corporation and the Asia Education Foundation. It will promote a deeper understanding of the Asia-Pacific region and Australia's links with it in Australia's year as host of the APEC forum.

A copy of the resource will be delivered to all Australian schools with secondary-aged students at the end of April 2007.

APEC - Strengthening our Community: Building a Sustainable Future is built around four student investigations designed to engage students in the Middle Years of schooling with global issues that enable them to:

  • understand the interconnections between peoples, economies and systems in the Asia-Pacific region;
  • appreciate APEC’s membership, history, purposes and processes;
  • understand the work of APEC, especially its vital importance to Australia in terms of trade, regional cooperation, security and community building;
  • follow the events, activities and outcomes of Australia’s hosting of APEC during 2007.

An enquiry pedagogy leads students through a series of investigations that emphasise the four APEC guiding principles: Communication, Cooperation, Collaboration, and Community. These principles will resonate with teachers in Australian schools as they apply equally to current national school programs and curriculum perspectives such as Engaging Young Australians with Asia, Civics and Citizenship, Global Education and Values Education.  The curriculum materials have also been mapped to State and Territory curriculum frameworks to ensure their consistency with curriculum requirements across Australia.

The resource begins with a Teacher Guide that provides advice about how the resource can be used to develop student learning about Australia’s regional relationships. It includes advice about the student investigations, and their relevance to national curriculum priorities and the State and Territory English, Studies of Society and Environment, and Humanities curriculums. A number of key websites are suggested that can provide additional resources to support the student investigations.

The four investigations included in APEC: Strengthening our Community – Building a Sustainable Future are:

The APEC family – creating a regional community

An introductory investigation allowing students to explore how and why APEC was established and gain an understanding of how it operates as a regional organisation. Students will appreciate how and why Australia engages cooperatively with other APEC member economies.

Trade and investment – generating regional prosperity

In this investigation, students will explore APEC’s work to create greater regional prosperity through trade and investment liberalisation. Within the context of APEC’s activities, students will investigate information about the benefits of cooperation. Through investigating the nature of open economies and the factors that hinder or support their development, students will be able to describe the impact of APEC trade and investment liberalisation on Member Economies.

Business Facilitation - making business easier

In this investigation, students will explore how APEC assists businesses and industries in Member Economies to take advantage of regional trade and investment opportunities. Students will investigate how business facilitation helps importers and exporters in the Asia-Pacific region meet and conduct business more efficiently, in turn reducing the costs of production and leading to increased trade, cheaper goods and services and greater employment opportunities.

APEC in a changing world – new challenges for the region

In this investigation, students will engage with three of the human security issues that may potentially affect prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. By investigating regional security issues such as health security, energy security, and counter-terrorism, students will gain an insight into the practical measures adopted by APEC to respond to these challenges.

An accompanying website, due to go live at the end of April 2007, reproduces these print materials and will include an interactive map of APEC economies linked to current country data and a 'latest news' facility. The website will offer further guidance to teachers and students, and provides links to additional resources as they explore the global significance of the APEC forum. A national teacher professional learning program developed by the Asia Education Foundation will be delivered in States and Territories throughout 2007. Contact Kurt Mullane, Manager, Professional Learning Asia Education Foundation, k.mullane@asialink.unimelb.edu.au

Key Learning Areas

Studies of Society and Environment

Subject Headings

Secondary education
Pacific region