27 September 2010

Bold adventure or missed opportunity?

The full draft of the first stage of the national curriculum has now been published.  Its final form should be the centrepiece of Labor’s ‘Education Revolution’. All the other aspects – personal computers, new school buildings, rebates for uniforms and even the MySchool report card – are marginal to the prescription of what is to be taught and learnt in schools.

Julie Bishop, when Coalition Minister, likewise favoured such a national control of the curriculum of schooling, but it was Julia Gillard who has the credit for setting the process of development in motion. Waleed Aly’s article in the Monthly earlier this year raised the issues of how ideology and political values would be played out in the curriculum, referring especially to History and English.  He did not, however, address at all the basic issues of Why a national curriculum? What nature should it take? or How effective has the process for development been?

Is an Australian national curriculum a bold educational adventure, or is it a foolish political decision destined to failure, as happened in the later 1970s and the 1990s when first the Fraser government and then the Keating government made earlier attempts?  

For the remainder of this article by Peter Fensham, please visit http://alturl.com/ijeh5

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