National Curriculum

New Curriculum, Same Old Leftist Ideological Bent

Written by
11 May 2022
Originally appeared in The Australian

The national curriculum determines what every Australian child will be taught from prep to year 10. The latest version, released on Monday and to be implemented from next year, has been approved by state Labor and Liberal governments as well as endorsed by the Morrison government. It is marginally better than the earlier draft that provoked a public outcry.

English and maths have been improved, but the subjects that inform how Australians think about our country and ourselves are even more ideologically loaded than previous drafts. Anzac Day is no longer contested, but what education bureaucrats grudgingly give away with one hand, they gleefully grab with the other.

What the national curriculum authority has produced is a political document infused with a pagan-green ideology. This is apparent in the health and physical education syllabus, as years 9 and 10 are taught to “engage in nature experiences to understand how these activities can promote the development of eco-identity and positive sense of wellbeing, including exploring how a deep connection to country/place enhances health and wellbeing for First Nations Australians”.

While an “eco-identity” is not elaborated on, like so many bad ideas it comes from academe. In discussing “ecocultural identity” in 2020, Ben Knight from the University of NSW writes: “The failure of the majority of the world to acknowledge the ecological in ourselves – its denial even – has led to environmental crises, a sort of global identity crisis driving the most pressing problems of our time, from climate crisis to Covid-19.” He quotes UNSW faculty of arts and science associate professor Tema Milstein: “One of the core premises (in) Western/ised cultures is that humans are not nature, that humans are not the environment, and that the environment is kind of a backdrop to humanity … the majority of societies now have reoriented their identities to be based on this separation in a way that has become very destructive.”

In other words, nature is good and humans are evil. This is the message which with children are being indoctrinated, and they are being set on the path to pantheism as soon as they get to school.

Throughout the new prep to year 6 curriculum, the under-12s are continuously encouraged to think about themselves in terms of how they relate to the environment, as well as through the lens of First Nations Australians. In geography, children repeatedly are told they must care for places that are inextricably tied to their identity. What is more, First Nations Australians consistently are held up as role models when it comes to the environment.

It begins in prep, when they identify “the places, communities, country/place they live in”. In year 1 they look at “how places change and how they can be cared for by different groups, including First Nations Australians”. By year 4, geography is about “how people’s connections with their environment can also be aesthetic, emotional and spiritual” as well as how “sustainable use and management of renewable and non-renewable resources including the custodial responsibility First Nations Australians have for country/place”.

Children are being taught it is better to be an Indigenous Australian than any other type of Australian. This is consistent with the teaching of Australia’s history.

In year 4, children will learn “the effects of contact with other people on First Nations Australians and their countries/places following the arrival of the First Fleet and how this was viewed by First Nations Australians as an invasion”. If they keep referring to Australia as having been invaded, it doesn’t matter what they teach them post-1788 because there will always be a sense of guilt associated with being a non-Indigenous Australian.

Education ministers clearly are not listening to parents about what they want for their children. In a poll commissioned by the Institute of Public Affairs, 56 per cent of the respondents thought parents should have the greatest say over what is taught to Australian schoolchildren. Just 10 per cent thought it should be bureaucrats, and only 5 per cent thought it should be politicians.

This is what happens when you hand your children over to the state. What about parents who might want their children to develop an identity other than an “eco-identity”? Who would like their children to have an identity based on family or religion?

The timing of version 9.0 is impeccable. In the middle of the election period, the education elite make minor changes to pretend they are listening to parents, desperately hoping we won’t see. But we do see. We see that every draft version of the curriculum gets worse and worse and that it is now beyond redemption.

It is time to abolish the national curriculum, to take education out of the hands of left-wing ideologues and to return it to parents.

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Bella d'Abrera

Dr Bella d'Abrera is the Director, Foundations of Western Civilisation Program at the Institute of Public Affairs

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