case study 4

The Australian government adopted the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians on 5 December 2008. It sets the direction for Australian schooling for the next ten years (MCEECDYA, 2009). The Melbourne Declaration sets out learning and subject areas to be covered in the first ever Australia-wide curriculum currently being developed by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) (DfE, 2011). The curriculum will cover from Kindergarten to Year 12 (ages 5–18).
The opening paragraph of the Melbourne Declaration states: ‘In the 21st century Australia’s capacity to provide a high quality of life for all will depend on the ability to compete in the global economy on knowledge and innovation. Education equips young people with the knowledge, understanding, skills and values to take advantage of opportunity and to face the challenges of this era with confidence’ (MCEECDYA, 2008, p. 4). The Declaration goes on to describe how important schools are for promoting the intellectual, physical, social, emotional, moral, spiritual and aesthetic development and well-being of Australian youth. Again it reiterates the importance of schools in ‘ensuring the nation’s on-going economic prosperity and social cohesion’. The government believe that in order for this to be achieved there must be a shared responsibility between schools and other stakeholders, such as parents, the community and business.
Answer the following key questions:
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Why is the purpose of schooling in Australia as stated above?
How would you analyse the opening paragraphs from a Durkheimian perspective?
What economic, social and political factors might this new curriculum be a response to?
Why hasn’t Australia had a nationwide curriculum before now?
What societal values are evident in the development of a new curriculum?

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