Release type: Transcript

Date:

Interview - Sky News with Peter Stefanovic

Ministers:

The Hon Alan Tudge MP
Minister for Education and Youth

Subjects: Draft proposed changes to National Curriculum

PETER STEFANOVIC:

The critics are certainly barking loudly over it, claiming that it paints a false picture over the country’s settlement. What do you make of that and is this something that you may need to intervene on?

ALAN TUDGE:

I’m certainly concerned about what I have read to date. I’ve only just received the draft, at the same time as you. I think it is a good development that the draft National Curriculum includes more emphasis on Indigenous history. I think we should honour our Indigenous history and teach that well. Equally, that should not come at the expense of dishonouring our Western heritage which has made us the liberal democracy that we are today. We have to get the balance right and I’m concerned that we haven’t in the draft that’s been put out. But I will say Pete it is just a draft; we’ve now got the opportunity for public consultation before they come to me and the state and territory ministers for approval later this year.

PETER STEFANOVIC:

So, what’s your role now? Do you start to push back on this? What does intervening from your side of things look like?

ALAN TUDGE:

We will have some discussion in relation to this today at the Ministerial Council which is here in Melbourne, which I Chair. We’ll also be listening to the public feedback over the next couple of months. Then ACARA, who is a separate entity, owned by the state and territory governments will then put up a final proposal for Ministers to approve later this year.

Certainly, I will be looking for some changes from what I’ve seen reported so far. I think there are some good elements though that have been included, including some of the maths elements which are lifting the standards which is what I want to see, because we have had a decline in education standards over the last 20 years. This review of the National Curriculum - the most important part of it in my view is to lift the overall standards so we can get back to where we were 20 years ago and we are seeing some of that in mathematics in the curriculum at the very least.

PETER STEFANOVIC:

Some critics have pointed to the fact that Invasion Day may well be promoted in schools, hence turning some students into activist, is that a criticism that you would share?

ALAN TUDGE:

I don’t want students to be turned into activist I want them to be taught the facts and they should understand and be taught the facts as it relates to indigenous history from an indigenous perspective as much as from a non-indigenous perspective. Certainly some people from an indigenous perspective saw things very differently to what the settlers saw it from and that should be taught as well. We have got to have the balance right here, that’s my main point.

PETER STEFANOVIC:

Just finally you just mentioned that there are some changes when it comes to maths in particular times tables and learning about the clock and time differences, that’s going to be pushed back a year. How does that make sense when we are falling so behind in maths?

ALAN TUDGE:

Those things perplex me Pete. I’ve had a quick look at the maths curriculum. In most dimensions they are bringing forward the date of learning. For example, percentages are now going to be taught in year 8 rather than year 9; Pythagoras’ theory is going to be taught earlier. But, they are saying that times tables should be taught in grade four rather than grade three - not sure about that. Let’s take another look at that. I want to see the standards raised not diminished.

PETER STEFANOVIC:

Yeah, I think a lot parents will agree you on that front. Minister thanks for your time thanks for joining us.

[ENDS]