The task facing schools inevitably becomes more complex with the passage of time. For centuries, schools have been mirrors of society, reflecting and promoting principles and values of preceding generations and ensuring that a body of knowledge, known to be important in the past, becomes a foundation upon which future developments can be built.
Yesterday's innovations become the backbone of tomorrow's curriculum. Today's schools, for example, need to reflect our world of frenetic technological development and enable students to become creatively computer literate.
Schools must also ensure that students enter a work force where developed skills are valued more than remembered facts. Employers, while requiring mastery of contemporary university courses, also seek skills like effective communication, the ability to contribute to team based operations or imaginative problem solving.
Above all, the ability to get on with and get the best out of people, be they colleagues or clients, is increasingly appreciated.
Scotch makes a very determined effort in our curriculum and beyond it to promote these generic skills that enhance one's ability to be a valuable contributor to the world of employment or indeed the community in general.
Increasingly schools are also expected to be agents for change by producing answers to today's major issues. The horrifying drug scene, debates about safe injecting rooms, the growth of youth depression and suicide or the need for 'safe sex' messages in our world of HIV-Aids and almost expected promiscuous sexual activity create a very difficult environment for our young people.
In former generations young people grew up in a world where community standards, values, morals and controls were firmly established. Today many of these influences seem to be disappearing, and schools are expected to enable our youth to navigate their way, occasionally buffeted perhaps but emerging intact, through the morass of potential trouble that is their world.
To be effective agents of influence it is crucial that schools' endeavours are based on principles and values that have been shown to be enduring. This contrasts with the greed and the willingness to exploit the vulnerable that are so prevalent today.
Scotch College is putting significant energy and resources into helping our students to make sense of their often bewildering world. The school does this from its philosophical foundations that are firmly established in the Christian faith.
The importance of each student as an individual of inestimable worth is a fundamental principle, as is the understanding that all are created in the image of God, with a spiritual as well as a physical and intellectual existence. The programs of this school challenge and extend our pupils and promote a sense of responsibility to one another, and to God.
We seek to help pupils develop personal skills, attitudes and values that will help them to effectively manage their difficult and rapidly changing world.
These issues, of course, are too great to be the responsibility of any institution. A whole community response is essential if effective strategies are to be developed.
While the challenges are obviously daunting, the support Scotch enjoys from its parents, former students and the Scotch Family is a great encouragement to all at the school who are endeavouring to meet them.
Perhaps the most encouraging feature, however, is the optimistic energy that the majority of students display so readily.
There are grounds for believing that the tried and tested formula at Scotch, allied with the commitment and determination of a forward looking teaching staff, will continue the school's tradition for excellence in the business of preparing young men for their future lives, in all their complexities.
Dr F. G. Donaldson
Scotch College: ABN 86 852 826 445 ACN 005 650 395 CRICOS 00624A (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students)