One of the issues we have been battling as a nation to get under wraps is the problematic drinking culture so entrenched in our youth, now amendments to the health and physical education curriculum aims to address just that.
According to media reports, sexuality, alcohol and drugs will be addressed by the school curriculum for children as young as 8 years old. The topics will be covered under the Health and Physical Education national curriculum.
Children as young as 10 will be taught to say no to drugs and to manage puberty so that they do not resort to drugs and alcohol to deal with the pressures of coming of age.
The following excerpt from an article on News.com.au explains more about the curriculum changes and the controversy surrounding it,
The final version of the HPE Australian Curriculum, which has been mired in controversy over issues such as puberty and sexuality, has been released this week, even though it has not yet been endorsed due to a review that is under way into the national curriculum.
One prominent think-tank is calling for the entire curriculum to be scrapped.
Institute of Public Affairs research fellow Chris Berg said the HPE curriculum focused on “diversity, social justice and consumerism” under the cross-curriculum priority (CCP) of sustainability and the IPA had concerns about “blatant ideology” in all of the CCPs.
“It is absurd that instead of using scarce school hours kicking a ball around, students will be taught the evils of consumerism,” Mr Berg said.
A representative for the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority denied that consumerism was a major factor in the curriculum and said that there was only one reference to it in the content elaborations and it was not compulsory to teach.
And the spokesperson went on to further explain that consumerism also includes teaching children health messages and the importance of reading nutrition labels and examining the issue of body image. She was also quoted as saying:
“The focus of health and physical education is about helping children to develop the skills to lead active, safe and healthy lives,” she said, adding it was up to teachers how the curriculum was implemented.
One of the issues that seems to be a particular area of controversy in the curriculum is Sexuality. The issue of sexuality is first raised as a focus area in Years 3 and 4 which some are concerned may be too early. But according to the spokeswoman, this inclusion was to help kids manage the changes going on both physically and socially including children learning about how friendships change as they grow older, in the younger year level. During Years 3 and 4, alcohol and other drugs is also listed as a focus area for the first time.
Puberty was meant to be taught during Years 3 and 4 as well but lobby groups complained and had the topic pushed to Years 5 and 6.
The article on News.com.au goes on to explain:
A push for mandatory swimming lessons has not been successful, but water safety is mentioned in content elaborations for educators.
The state is expected to roll out the HPE national curriculum next year and in 2016.