Federal Liberals: Still looking for a clue on education

Posted: October 8, 2006 in Australia, Education, News

john_howard.gifThe Australian Liberal Party are certainly an interesting bunch, they seem completely unable to grasp how modern education works – or what makes up the current curriculum. It’s already been covered here on how the latest push by the Federal Government to gain control of the education portfolio from the states is based on rationale which is dubious to say the least, yet they continue to demonstrate time and again that they really are ignorant.

It would seem that the Federal Australian Government, as demonstrated by John Howard’s and Julie Bishop’s statements, is about as clueless as an Irishman at an A.A. meeting when it comes to education.  So what is the latest ignorance to come from that leaky Canberra think-tank?

Among the Federal Government’s concerns with Australian curricula is what it calls left-wing ideology being taught in schools.

Yes, because it would not do to have any sort of education system which counters the Government’s current right wing and conservative views now, would it? Of course, the entire argument that the Australian education system teaches left wing values is silly and there is nothing in any sort of curriculum policies (which do get reviewed by all manner of people and updated quite often) which says that schools teach such a perspective.  Liberal concern is, quite bluntly, rubbish.  Schools are not in the business of teaching ideologies and instead are there to get students to think and increase their skill base.

It also wants Australian history taught as a core subject, as well as a renewed focus on literacy and numeracy.

Australian history as a core subject?  I don’t know about the other Australian states but Victoria’s new Essential Learning Standards (VELS)  already has history covered under the Humanities domain; Australian History is featured quite heavily and is the focus for VELS Level 4.  Grade 6 students even focus on politics and the history of the settlement of Australia.  Once again, the Liberal Party concern is nonsense.

Literacy and Numeracy in the classroom and a renewed focus on it?  Well, once again the Liberals demonstrate considerable ignorance on the subject. The average school day has approximately five hours of face-to-face classroom time.  Most Victorian schools already spend three of those hours teaching literacy and numeracy – a 1 hour reading block, a 1 hour writing block and (usually following morning recess) around an hour for numeracy.  How much more time do the Liberals want teachers to donate to these areas?  What has to miss out?

In short, anyone that agrees with the notion that the Federal Government has any idea of modern  education practice and what students need to learn is undoubtedly ignorant. No questions asked.

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