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Curriculum 'paints negative image' of west says Minister

Politics

Australia’s education minister has pushed for further changes to the national curriculum, labelling a draft as painting a negative view of western history.

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Alan Tudge believes proposed curriculum changes will not lift educational standards and fail to adequately teach Australia’s past and values.

In a speech on Friday to the Centre for Independent Studies, Tudge said the biggest problem with the draft is in history.

“It gave the impression nothing bad happened before 1788 and almost nothing good has happened since,” he said.

“It almost erased Christianity from our past, despite it being the single most important influence on our modern development.

“The revised curriculum has gone from an F to a C, but our students deserve an A+.”

The education minister was briefed this week on changes to the draft curriculum, but has yet to see the full proposal.

The initial draft by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority was released in April.

Speaking ahead of the speech, Tudge said he supported some changes made to the draft, such as a stronger focus on phonics and an earlier introduction of times tables.

However, he raised concerns students would not learn about modern Australian achievements.

“The Indigenous side of the things has been covered very adequately, in some respects, it can be a bit repetitious in the draft curriculum that’s being proposed,” Tudge told Sky News.

“What hasn’t been covered adequately in the draft is our western heritage and how that came about and the celebration, and the achievement, of modern Australia. There are many things to celebrate.”

In the speech, Tudge cites polling from the Lowy Institute showing 40 per cent of young Australians prefer a non-democratic system of government.

He labels the findings a “catastrophe” and stresses the need for the new curriculum to include an emphasis on liberal democracy and Australian systems.

“If students don’t learn this, they won’t defend it as previous generations did,” he will say.

“Just as Indigenous Australians celebrate and fiercely defend Indigenous culture and heritage, we should all celebrate and fiercely defend our Western liberal culture.

“Students should leave school with a love of country and a sense of optimism and hope that we live in the greatest country on earth.”

Tudge has previously attracted criticism for saying that school students should not learn about Anzac Day being “a contested idea”.

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