values education in Australian schools

I’ve been researching education department curriculums and policies to see whether some nonviolence peace training could fit in with existing education outcomes, and came across this. It’s from the Department of Education, Science and Training website, and it’s the outline of the values taught in the values curriculum – essentially what the government thinks should be taught in terms of Australian values. Surprisingly, there’s little overt mention of Simpson and his donkey…although that image does form the background of every page, so maybe it’s intended to be subliminal. What seems ironic to me is that many of these stated values are precisely the values that this current government seems to be continually eroding.

Nine Values for Australian Schooling
1. Care and Compassion
Care for self and others [as long as it doesn’t cost the economy]
2. Doing Your Best
Seek to accomplish something worthy and admirable, try hard, pursue excellence
3. Fair Go
Pursue and protect the common good where all people are treated fairly for a just society [all wealthy, white, middle-aged males, that is.]
4. Freedom
Enjoy all the rights and privileges of Australian citizenship free from unnecessary
interference or control, and stand up for the rights of others
[Ah, ‘unnecessary’ is such a slippery word, isn’t it? No more free speech of course, but that interference is necessary to protect us from terrorists, or some such.]
5. Honesty and Trustworthiness
Be honest, sincere and seek the truth.
[Yes, be honest, so we don’t need to outsource you to Saudi Arabia to be tortured. And just forget that last part about seeking the truth…it’s not out there after all.]
6. Integrity
Act in accordance with principles of moral and ethical conduct, ensure consistency
between words and deeds
[This would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad.]
7. Respect
Treat others with consideration and regard, respect another person’s point of view [unless they disagree with us, in which case, deport them.]
8. Responsibility
Be accountable for one’s own actions, resolve differences in constructive, non-violent and peaceful ways, contribute to society and to civic life, take care of the environment [This one I guess gives me some hope that there is a space in the stated government-sanctioned curriculum for nonviolence training, but somehow methinks that what they meant here is something like “don’t rock the boat”.]
9. Understanding, Tolerance and Inclusion
Be aware of others and their cultures, accept diversity within a democratic society [especially when diversity means the entire Shakespeare canon…and except when it comes to the burqua, or other ‘strange’ customs], being included and including others.

Ok, so I admit I’m feeling unnecessarily cynical today. But still, surely there’s a fair degree of
reason to be cynical about a government who advocates that such values be taught in schools while simultaneously trampling all over them in their actions.

The wonderful thing about the purported ‘openness’ and ‘fairness’ of this policy though, is that I potentially have all the more room to teach subversive ideas like self-giving love, empowered peace and principled nonviolence…

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One thought on “values education in Australian schools

  1. I’d say I was taught 2, 7 and 8 to some degree. As for the rest, I found the definitions on http://www.dictionary.com. Very handy website that for words you’ve not come across in the past.

    There must be a bout of cynicism going around at the moment…

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