Expert calls for EYLF and children’s television to align
Dr Patricia Edgar, the original architect of the C Classification and drama quotas for children’s television, has called for ‘a radical rethink of quotas, content regulations and funding for children’s media education and entertainment’ saying that there needs to be stronger links between the content of children’s television and educational curriculum, such as the Early Years Learning Framework.
Her comments come as the general public wait for the release of the Federal Government’s response to the Australian and Children’s Screen Content Review.
Dr Edgar urged the Government and the Australian Communication Media Authority (ACMA) to drop quotas in favour of a new funding model more attuned to the needs and interests of today’s children, saying that ACMA, the production industry and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF) are locked into an outdated paradigm; a media world that children have left far behind.
Increasing the quota system, which requires television stations to create and produce content designed specifically to meet children’s needs and interests, in light of the new media landscape would ‘fly in the face of global evidence’ Dr Edgar said, describing such a move as ‘shameful, wasteful idiocy’
In place of the quota system, Dr Edgar proposed a new model, in which children’s quotas are abolished, and television channels charged an annual levy of at least $10 million to fund a new division of Screen Australia, or an entirely new agency.
The task of the new division or agency, Dr Edgar said, would be developing innovative ways of engaging children, using their own ideas, new technologies, gaming, film-making and interaction with their peers.
Speaking about prominent media player, the Australian Broadcasting Commission (the ABC), Dr Edgar argued that it ‘must live up to its charter by using digital technology to support early childhood development, with new programs linked to the national early childhood curriculum’.
Describing the ABC as ideally placed to reach children with quality programs designed both to entertain and educate them, Dr Edgar believes programs for young children should be thought of in a different way from those aimed at older children.
‘Education policy and communication policy should be thought of together, not seen as separate issues’. Dr Edgar said.
Calling for urgent action from producers, content creators and educators, Dr Edgar made the following statement
‘Too often, producers forget the child is the focus, not their own jobs. They shy away from the word ‘educational’ when in fact the media are the most potent and successful form of education there is. Even teachers ignore the potential of media to reach and teach children.’
Information about Dr Edgars work can be found on her website