The Australian education minister has endorsed a “stripped-back and teachable” curriculum focusing on helping students achieve proficiency in foundational skills, which is expected to set a higher standard for educational achievement in the country going forward.
The “decluttered” curriculum, which will come into effect next year, will allow teachers to be able to teach the content with depth and rigour after it reduced 21 percent of the content descriptions summarising what students will learn.
Introduced on April 1, the revised Version 9.0 curriculum will see a stronger focus on English phonics and on mastering mathematical facts, concepts, skills and processes. It will also lift the standards for mathematics in relation to addition and subtraction in Year 1, and proficiency with times tables in Year 2.
History has also been significantly decluttered and is now compulsory in both Year 9 and 10, where it had previously been optional.
Acting Minister for Education and Youth Stuart Robert said on April 1 this change will strengthen how young Australians “appreciate our prosperous, democratic country.”
‘Importantly, this means high school students will learn post-settlement history from the period 1750 to the First World War. They will also learn the impact of post-Second World War migration in Australia and the significant contributions migrants have made to Australia’s success,” he wrote in a press release.
There will be a new emphasis on Indigenous History and culture under the new curriculum, as students for the first time will learn Deep Time Indigenous History as a compulsory part of Year 7, Robert added.
Changes to the area of mental health are underway, while privacy and security have been added to the Digital Technologies curriculum.
Meanwhile, in controversial changes criticised by religious groups, students will be taught the “explicit teaching of consent and respectful relationships from F-10” under the new Health and Physical Education curriculum. Year 5-6 students will learn about “the impact of transition and change on identities” while Year 7 students will be taught about “valuing diversity and promoting inclusivity.”
Julie Priebbenow, who is a parent of a six years old boy, told The Epoch Times that consent education “really concerns” her and that the content “ought not to be rushed in its creation.”
“The job of a parent is to raise their children and protect them, especially when they are so young and vulnerable, so they must be able to have an input on what content will be taught to their young children—it is their right and responsibility as parents,” she said.
“If parents can have a say, it will not only help keep children safe, but will also mean that families can encourage the implementation of the lessons at home. It’s critical that schools and families work together for the sake of their children.”
Priebbenow has also urged for more communication between parents and the government and education leaders in regards to the teachings of consent education.
The curriculum’s consultation process comprises more than 900 email submissions and more than 6,000 online surveys, as well as 360 teachers and curriculum specialists.
David de Carvalho, CEO of ACARA, praised the new curriculum for “ensuring the same high standard curriculum content is available to every student, regardless of where they live.”
“It reflects the priorities and expectations we hold for our young people, and this curriculum sets a new high benchmark,” he said on April 1.
“Importantly, this is a more stripped-back and teachable curriculum that identifies the essential content our children should learn. Together with new resources designed to support our teachers, it is expected the Australian Curriculum will lead to improved student outcomes.”
The existing Australian Curriculum will continue to be available on the current Australian Curriculum website until all states, territories and schools are implementing the new curriculum.