Back-to-basics approach for Australia's classrooms

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AUSTRALIA'S national school curriculum will return history, grammar, literature and phonetics to the classroom, in what Prime Minister Kevin Rudd describes as a ''back to basics'' approach to education.

However, it will also place Aboriginal and Asian ways of seeing the world into almost every subject....

The draft puts a new emphasis on Australia's geography, by introducing Asian texts and Aboriginal examples into the classroom across all subjects.

Professor McGaw hopes it will satisfy those on both sides of the history and reading wars.

''We've got a couple of millennia of understanding the world in certain ways - historical, scientific and so on - and there's no way a small group in Australia is going to overturn it in three months,'' he said....

Aboriginal history will be taught from year three, including the significance of Sorry Day and the Aboriginal flag. In year four, in addition to learning about early explorers and the arrival of the First Fleet, students will be taught about the beliefs and languages of Aboriginal people and the significance of Dreamtime stories.

In high school, key historical events such as World War I and Gallipoli will remain a focal point, but for the first time a strong emphasis on Asian history will be introduced, reflecting Australia's growing ties with the region....

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