More Religion to be Taught in Public Schools?

Teacher giving instruction

There should be more religious education in Australian schools, says one of the men tasked with reviewing the national curriculum

Former teacher and ex-Liberal Party staffer Kevin Donnelly says Australian education has become too secular, and the federation’s Judeo-Christian heritage should be better reflected in the curriculum.

The review was announced yesterday by Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne, after concerns the curriculum had become too left-leaning and was failing students.

Mr Donnelly says religion does not have enough of a presence in Australia’s “very secular curriculum”, and that it needs to be taught “more effectively”.

“I’m not saying we should preach to everyone, but I would argue that the great religions of the world – whether it’s Islam, whether it’s Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism – they should be taught over the compulsory years of school,” he said.

“When you look at Parliaments around Australia – they all begin with the Lord’s prayer. If you look at our constitution, the preamble is about God.

“You can’t airbrush that from history – it has to be recognised.”

Mr Donnelly is also making the argument that Australian education has lurched to the “cultural left”.

“The curriculum, as with most of the Western nations – England, America, New Zealand, Australia, over the last 20 or so years – they’ve adopted a curriculum that I call progressive, new age. On the left side, if you like,” he said.

“I have argued in the past, as Minister Pyne has, that we need to get the balance right in terms of Asia, Indigenous, sustainability – that’s OK – but the pendulum has swung too far towards what I call a politically correct view.

“So we do need to emphasise the fact that we are a Western, liberal, democratic nation.”

National curriculum

  • The current curriculum was approved by federal, state and territory education ministers in December 2010.
  • Content was finalised in 2011.
  • Governs teaching in schools all the way up to year 12.
  • The curriculum is due to be adopted in New South Wales this year.
  • Other states, including South Australia and Queensland, have already adopted staged implementation.
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  • he curriculum currently covers English, maths, science, geography and history.
  • Examples and more information can be found on the curriculum’s website.
  • Kevnin Donnelly with John Howard

    Dr Donnelly has an 18-year career teaching in government and non-government schools and was a branch president of the Victorian Secondary Teachers Association.


    Image Credit;A teacher gives instructions to her pupils. (Credit: AFP)