| 23.11,11. 08:37 AM |
Kids to learn what makes us Australian
November 23, 2011
ALL school students will be taught what it means to be Australian under the planned national curriculum.
Education authorities are working on the civics and citizenship subject amid concern that many young people are growing up with little knowledge of what makes the nation tick.
News of the initiative came as Victoria's Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Minister, Nick Kotsiras, received support for his push to encourage migrant students to feel more Australian.
The Herald Sun revealed that Mr Kotsiras wants the national anthem sung regularly and civics classes to help new arrivals integrate.
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority chairman Prof Barry McGaw said that a proposed civics and citizenship subject would be vital for migrant students. "But also important for kids whose parents were born here as well," he said.
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"For them all to grow up and know about our political and legal systems and the things that constitute the basis of civic life in the country ... It contributes to social cohesion but can also support a sense of their own identity."
A spokeswoman for federal Education Minister Peter Garrett said students' civic knowledge had been improving since the introduction of civics testing in 2005.
The Government was showing what it meant to be Australian with ideas such as the National History Challenge and Schools Constitution Convention.
Mr Kotsiras said singing the national anthem would not be compulsory, but he would love all schools to do it.
"I have been to many schools, Greek Orthodox, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim ... And I'll tell you what, each child is very proud to sing the anthem," he said.
But state Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said Mr Kotsiras should be more concerned with cuts to school budgets. "The absolutely vast majority of schools already sing the national anthem," he said.
Hass Dellal, director of the Australian Multicultural Foundation, said Mr Kotsiras's ideas were a reminder to promote things that unite us.