Phase 1 of the new Australian Curriculum was published today by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). As predicted here on The Drama Teacher a few days ago, state education ministers met in Canberra this morning to vote on approving the release of the curriculum, with the view that considerable work is yet to be done.
Effectively published as a “working document”, ministers voted to allow ACARA to further improve the achievement standards of Phase 1 studies in 2011, validating these by October next year. Phase 1 studies include English, Mathematics, Science and History. The implementation of this curriculum in Years F-10 (F is for Foundation <year> and replaces the old K) will be state-based decisions across the country, likely rolling out between 2012 and 2014.
The new national curriculum marks a milestone in Australian education. One of the few developed western countries in the world without a national curriculum, Australia has opted to implement a unique version that is approved by each state, as opposed to being nationally mandated. Assessment of students studying the national curriculum will not be nationally controlled, either, but left up to individual states. The end result? One that may well be more democratic, but in the process is time-consuming, complex and diverse.
Federal Education Minister, Peter Garrett, turned on the spin for the media today, claiming a victory for all. While it was definitely a win that all education ministers approved the documents, the fact that Phase 1 implementation will be rolled out at different times across the country instead of at the beginning of 2012 seems a bit of a farce, and the curriculum being published today as a work in progress, isn’t any better, either.