Victoria: Holocaust education becomes compulsory

holocaustVictoria’s Education Minister says high school students are receiving sub-standard education about the Holocaust, as the Government makes learning about the atrocities of World War II compulsory for years 9 and 10 students.

James Merlino said all government secondary schools would be made to teach students about the Holocaust, in which Nazi Germany killed more than 6 million Jews and members of other persecuted groups.

The Holocaust is in the current Victorian curriculum but is not taught in all schools, and Mr Merlino said it was often not taught as well as it could be.

He said he hoped more education about the Holocaust would help address racism and prejudice.

“Anti-Semitism is on the rise right around the globe, and sadly we’re not immune from it in our own Victorian community,” Mr Merlino told the ABC.

“Most kids today wouldn’t be able to explain what the Holocaust was, and I think it’s vital that each generation understands the horror of the Holocaust to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

Lessons from the Holocaust ‘frighteningly relevant today’

The Government will work with the Victorian Jewish community and the Gandel Philanthropy fund to develop new teaching resources based on adaptations of existing resources from Israel’s Yad Vashem memorial and lesson plans produced by the World Holocaust Memorial Centre in Jerusalem.

Not-for-profit organisation Courage to Care, which uses the Holocaust to teach students about bystander behaviour, will receive government funding to establish an ethnic or religious vilification hotline for schools, students and parents.

The organisation will also establish a new student advisory group to look at what can be done to make schools more inclusive.

Jewish Holocaust Centre director Jayne Josem said lessons from the Holocaust were “frighteningly relevant today”.

“Which is why this announcement is so significant,” she said.

Ms Josem said the sight of a Nazi flag flying over a home in north-west Victoria last month was extremely distressing for survivors of the Holocaust living in Australia.

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Photo: Education Minister James Merlino said it was shocking that many teenagers would not be able to explain what the Holocaust was. (Wikimedia)


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