Australia

Minister flags a new 'simplified' national curriculum

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Education Minister Dan Tehan has flagged a review of the national curriculum, which could see a shift in learning goals for Australian schoolchildren.

The national curriculum needs to be decluttered and simplified to help Australian students excel, the education minister says.

Dan Tehan has flagged a review of the curriculum, which could see revamped learning goals for Australian schoolchildren.

"What I'm hearing from teachers and principals is there is just too much on the curriculum, there is too much being asked of teachers to teach," Mr Tehan told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

"What they want to see is a more simplified curriculum and that's why I'm calling for us to look at decluttering the Australian curriculum."

Minister for Education Dan Tehan during Question Time.
Minister for Education Dan Tehan during Question Time.
AAP

In a speech to an education conference on Monday, Mr Tehan said it was time to "look after our teachers" after citing a 2016 Deloitte Access Economic report, which identified teachers as the single biggest influence on a students outcome at school.

He also cited a Hunter Institute of Mental Health survey of 453 teachers, which found up to two-thirds identified time management as their biggest challenge. More than half of the respondents said they wanted more time for mentoring and planning.

Mr Tehan goes on to say it was important to increase the "attractiveness of the profession" and to provide student teachers more time in the classroom as part of their training.

"The teachers I speak to as Education Minister, as a rural MP and as a parent are passionate about education, and passionate about making a difference in the lives of young people," he said in a copy of the speech.

"I want to ensure that the best, the brightest and the most passionate people want to become teachers and want to stay teaching."

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Minister flags a new 'simplified' national curriculum
Minister flags a new 'simplified' national curriculum

'Common sense' needed on phones

He also said it was time to "rediscover some common sense" when it came to technology in the classroom.

"If mobile phones are distracting students in the classroom then teachers should be empowered to conduct a class without them," he said.

"There is a time and place for technology in education and surely we can all agree on that."

The national curriculum needs to be decluttered and simplified to help Australian students excel, according to the education minister.
The national curriculum needs to be decluttered and simplified to help Australian students excel, according to the education minister.
Hero Images

Mr Tehan also highlighted a need to change the national focus on "attendance and completion not enrollment".

He said the 20 per cent performance gap between Indigenous and Torres Strait Islanders compared to non-Indigenous 15-year-old students was explained by lower school attendance.

"There is a similar situation when it comes to early childhood education, where the disparity in attendance between children from low socio-economic, rural and remote and Indigenous backgrounds far outweighs those from urban areas and means these children start school at a significant comparative disadvantage," he said.

"We all must work harder to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school attendance, but surely lifting the attendance and completion rates of every student will make a big difference in lifting outcomes."

The education minister said ensuring every child "gets the basics right" was a core principle and the Morrison government will never support any change to the national curriculum that diverges from these priorities.

He concluded his speech at ANU calling for as many people as possible to contribute to the document to deliver a world-class education system.

With AAP

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