Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Australian Federal Election 2013: Tony Abbott rejects the idea of well-rounded and informed students?

The Australian 3 September 2013:

TONY Abbott has urged a rethink of the national history curriculum, saying it underplays the heritage of Western civilisation, gives too much focus to trade unions and overlooks conservative prime ministers.
The Opposition Leader said while he would not dictate changes, the Coalition believed it was "possible to do better" and was entitled to say "maybe you ought to have a rethink".
Asked whether the national curriculum had become "politicised" under Labor, Mr Abbott said it was "mostly" to do with history.
"Lack of references to our heritage, other than an indigenous heritage, too great a focus on issues which are the predominant concern of one side of politics," he said at the National Press Club in Canberra. "I think the unions are mentioned far more than business. I think there are a couple of Labor prime ministers who get a mention, from memory, not a single Coalition prime minister."....

Australian Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has a somewhat strange idea about the history curriculum which forms part of the national Foundation to Year 12 Australian Curriculum.

Rather like a modern American Tea Party 'patriot' he apparently wants a sanitized, markedly right-wing and white bread version of history to be taught in our schools.

This is what the national history curriculum actually covers between Years 6 and 12 in order to produce a well-rounded student:

The Year 6 curriculum moves from colonial Australia to the development of Australia as a nation, particularly after 1900. Students explore the factors that led to Federation and experiences of democracy and citizenship over time. Students understand the significance of Australia’s British heritage, the Westminster system, and other models that influenced the development of Australia’s system of government. Students learn about the way of life of people who migrated to Australia and their contributions to Australia’s economic and social development.

The Year 7 curriculum provides a study of history from the time of the earliest human communities to the end of the ancient period, approximately 60 000 BC (BCE) – c.650 AD (CE). It was a period defined by the development of cultural practices and organised societies. The study of the ancient world includes the discoveries (the remains of the past and what we know) and the mysteries (what we do not know) about this period of history, in a range of societies including Australia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, China and India.

The Year 8 curriculum provides study of history from the end of the ancient period to the beginning of the modern period, c.650 AD (CE) – 1750. This was when major civilisations around the world came into contact with each other. Social, economic, religious, and political beliefs were often challenged and significantly changed. It was the period when the modern world began to take shape.

The Year 9 curriculum provides a study of the history of the making of the modern world from 1750 to 1918. It was a period of industrialisation and rapid change in the ways people lived, worked and thought. It was an era of nationalism and imperialism, and the colonisation of Australia was part of the expansion of European power. The period culminated in World War I 1914-1918, the ‘war to end all wars’.

The Year 10 curriculum provides a study of the history of the modern world and Australia from 1918 to the present, with an emphasis on Australia in its global context. The twentieth century became a critical period in Australia’s social, cultural, economic and political development. The transformation of the modern world during a time of political turmoil, global conflict and international cooperation provides a necessary context for understanding Australia’s development, its place within the Asia-Pacific region, and its global standing.

In Years 11 and 12 the curriculum allows students to do in depth study of either  modern or ancient history.

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