WHILE it is great to look to the future, we should never forget the past, for it is history that has helped shape who and where we are today.
Does the decision for Australian history not to be taught as a stand-alone subject in years 11 and 12 under the national curriculum mean that our future generations will know little about their past?
Why is it that modern and ancient history are the only two subjects to be offered nationwide for the senior students? Apparently, Australian history will be incorporated into – and be the central part of – modern history. But does that give students enough time to fully appreciate our nation’s history?
Statistics show that 1170 Victorian year 12 students undertook Australian history, compared with more than 5600 who did revolutions.
The Victorian government, which has raised concerns about the level of Australian history to be taught, has been told by its federal counterpart that it could offer its own Australian history courses if it chose to do so.
The discoverer of our nation, Captain James Cook, and the Eureka Rebellion’s Peter Lalor, would be rolling around in their graves with the latest development.
According to reports, Victoria is one of several states offering the stand-alone Australian history in VCE curriculums. However, there seems to be a struggle to compete with the popular revolutions subject like the French and Russian. But what about Australia’s own revolution, the 1854 Eureka Rebellion between miners and British colonial authorities in Ballarat? It has been identified as the birth of democracy in Australia and, according to some, was a political revolt.
And if Australian history fails to be a stand-alone subject, what does this mean for the multimillion-dollar Australian Centre for Democracy at the Eureka Centre, a place where the full history of the Eureka rebellion will be retold?
Hopefully consultation between the Victorian government and the Australian Curriculum Reporting and Assessment Authority over Australian history will result in a decision which does not mean future generations miss out on the whole story.