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Learning and Shaping the Future

Phillip Hughes

It is profoundly disturbing to learn that 70% of Australian 15-year-olds' expect the future to be ended by nuclear war. The research which revealed this was not elaborate. It was called 'Images of the Future'; Australian secondary students at Years 9 and 10 (approximately 15-16 years old) were asked what their futures would be like. The researchers used interviews, questionnaires and asked for written imaginings of what the world would be like in 20 years time. It came as a shock to me to learn that as well as expecting nuclear war only 16% felt they had any influence on the future. Decisions affecting the future were not seen as being open to 'ordinary people' to influence.

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