The IPA’s interest in the education of young Australians is of long standing, with an increasing focus on direct education to supply knowledge and perspectives increasingly absent from the official system. Our aim is to greatly expand these activities in future years, through the support of our donors and philanthropic foundations. If you are interested in finding out more about this work, please contact Rachel Guy at the IPA.
Under terms of its constitution, the IPA is a non-profit, educational research organisation, which supports free enterprise, private property and individual liberty as the institutions best suited “to promote the welfare of the Australian people”.
The IPA’s interest in education is therefore two-fold:
- undertaking research to evaluate whether our nation’s educational system is in fact furthering values that will ensure a free and prosperous Australia, and
- to directly educate young Australians on those values and their continuing relevance.
Our recent research into the education system, school curricula, and the courses offered at the Universities, can be found here. That research has identified significant gaps in what young people in Australia are being taught, particularly with respect to history and the foundations of the civilisation of which Australia is a part, and also the pernicious effects of postmodern theories as expressed in identity politics and critical race theory.
This has given some urgency to the IPA’s effort to directly supply what the schools and Universities increasingly do not, and in recent years a number of initiatives have delivered valuable outcomes and provided learning for the future of the IPA’s Education program. Planning for this program encompasses an expansion of the activities detailed below, and also options up to and including delivery of accredited courses in an initiative known as “IPA University”.
For Secondary School Students
To fill the gap in what is being taught in Australian schools, the IPA has for the aid of teachers produced ‘Is Western Civilisation Part of Your Life Today?’ This resource provides a way of introducing and exploring relevant aspects of the Australian Curriculum at Years 7-10 for both History and Civics and Citizenship. This free practical classroom unit supports teachers so their students in turn can understand the nature and origin of the Australia in which they live. Launched in 2020, it has been pickup up by schools across Australia. There is background information here, and the curriculum resource can be downloaded here.
The IPA’s Open Minds program is a series of seminars to which secondary school students are invited for half-day sessions to discuss the key ideas and historical perspectives of a free society. Variations have been provided in a number of capital cities, and the feedback from attendees have been positive.
The Generation Liberty program is open to senior secondary students, many of whom access its educational materials and activities (including those listed in the following section). You can learn more about the Generation Liberty program here.
For University Students
The most ambitious program to date has been the “IPA Academy”, a week-long intensive program with University students from all over Australia. Gathered at University College in Parkville, participated were taught by leading scholars and academics, including Professor Gary Wolfram from the renowned Hillsdale College in the USA, Dr David Kemp, and Professor Sinclair Davidson, amongst others.
The content was organised around three themes:
- The Ebbs and Flows of Freedom
- The Miracle of The Individual
- The Morality of Markets
Elaboration of these themes can be found here.
Highlights of the seminars delivered at the IPA Academy are being progressively provided online.
Work is currently well-advanced on an online foundations course in the key aspects of Western Civilisation, in the spirit of those which have enriched campuses in the USA for a hundred years or more. It has been designed for online and in-person delivery.
Individual modules will chart a path from the Ancient Greeks and Romans, through the years of turmoil in Europe, to the flowering of civilisation seen in the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and Modernity. The final modules will be on the Australian Civilisation, and how the elements of our way of life has been drawn from the great tradition.