Tony Abbot’s government is making great strides, not for them the meek appeasement of unions that our government has in its approach.
Their education minister is set to start reefing leftist dogma from the school curriculum.
THE Abbott government will move today to reshape school education by appointing strong critics of the national curriculum to review what children are taught, amid fears a “cultural Left” agenda is failing students.
The Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, is seeking a blueprint by mid-year to overhaul the curriculum, warning that the rise of “remedial” classes at universities proves the depths of the problem in Australian classrooms. Vowing to restore an “orthodox” curriculum, Mr Pyne will today name author and former teacher Kevin Donnelly and business professor Ken Wiltshire to lead the review.
The appointments clear the way for reforms that could expunge parts of the history syllabus that Tony Abbott has blasted for favouring Labor and the unions but glossing over the work of Coalition prime ministers.
Mr Donnelly is a fierce critic of the “relativism” in the teaching program, while Professor Wiltshire has rejected the emphasis on “competencies” and urged a sharper focus on knowledge and assessment.
The looming changes could spark another “culture war”, given past brawls, including John Howard’s criticism in 2007 of the “shameful” neglect of Australian history and the disputes over Julia Gillard’s introduction of the national curriculum in 2010.
Writing in The Australian today, Mr Pyne declares that parents want a curriculum that is “free of partisan bias” and deals with real-world issues.
Concerns about the teaching program have deepened in recent years as the nation lost ground in global assessments of reading, maths and science, putting Australian students behind their counterparts in Vietnam, Poland and Estonia. Canberra and the states agreed on changes to the curriculum last year but the new review throws open the debate to the public, allowing for wider consultation and possibly the holding of open hearings.
Mr Pyne said he expected the states to accept the need for change, given signs of the problems with the current curriculum.
“I think the fact that universities are teaching maths and English remedial courses is a symptom of an education system that isn’t meeting the needs of students who go on to university, and that’s something the reviewers will be taking a close look at,” Mr Pyne said. “The term ‘remedial’ implies a remedy for a problem and one of the priorities for all governments should be removing the problem.”
A key complaint about the curriculum is its emphasis on seven “general capabilities” rather than essential knowledge in fields such as maths, English and history.
Watch the teacher unions increase their war against the Abbott government.