In January, Education Minister Christopher Pyne announced that Professor Ken Wiltshire and Dr Kevin Donnelly would lead a review of the National Curriculum. Mr Pyne said the review would evaluate the curriculum’s “robustness, independence and balance and examine the content and development process”.
The National Curriculum was introduced as a draft by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard in 2010. At the time, opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne had said it was unbalanced and signalled a Coalition government would conduct a thorough review of the legislation.
There has been criticism that the new curriculum ignored Australia’s Judeo- Christian heritage. In the lead up to the election last year, in a Quadrant opinion piece
, Dr Donnelly said the curriculum represented a threat to faith-based schools. He said:
“While students will be forced to learn every subject through a politically correct prism involving Asian, Indigenous and environmental perspectives, the debt owed to Australia’s Judeo-Christian heritage is ignored, with Christianity reduced to one religion among many, alongside Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.
The draft civics and civics national curriculum and the history curriculum also embrace choice and diversity — code for multiculturalism — and ignore the central place of Christianity in the evolution of Australia’s political and legal systems.”
The ACL intends on making a submission to the review and would encourage its supporters to do so as well. ACL believes that the National Curriculum should take proper account of Australia’s religious and cultural heritage and that an understanding of Christianity is vital for students to understand modern Australia and western civilisation.
Christianity has had an important impact on literature, philosophy, human rights, arts, science, education, health care, and many other areas of society. It is important that students understand the cultural, philosophical, and literary significance of the Bible. Incidentally it was atheist Richard Dawkins who said “you can’t appreciate English literature unless you are steeped to some extent in the King James Bible … not to know (it) is to be, in some small way, barbarian”.
While understanding sustainability, Indigenous, and Asian themes are necessary, they should not be emphasised at the expense of other important themes such as the influence of western civilisation.
Public comment is invited on the national curriculum until the 28th
of February. To learn more about the process and to make a submission go to http://www.studentsfirst.gov.au