Page 3383 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 20 September 2005

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Then they were doing something that was related to their lives, not two by two equals four. That did not really have a meaning for them. Sitting down and doing an exercise out of a grammar book would not have helped much either.

I do think that in the ACT we need to take our eyes off this idea of traditional curriculum, traditional outcomes, being good at English and maths, because some kids are never going to be successful in those areas. They are only going to learn those things when they are applied to things that they are interested in. I have argued for alternative and tech-based education, so that young people who do not like sitting down all day and doing bookwork can succeed at things that are useful in our society. Some of these things are the very skills that we bemoan the lack of.

There is a lot more that could be said, and I wish I had time to say it. I would have loved to get the call when Mr Stanhope did. I probably would have had more to say. Mrs Dunne really focused on curriculum renewal in her remarks. I welcome curriculum development if it enables us to expand our ideas of how children learn. I also welcome studies that are based on children’s lives. I heard someone bemoaning the fact that children were being taught about text. The fact is that, until Harry Potter came along, a lot of young people did not read books at all. So we have to work with where they are.

If they are going to sit and watch TV all day, we have got to make sure they are critical of what they are watching and are not just open minds for advertisers to fill with desire, desire, desire. We need a holistic approach. That was the approach of the education committee when the Liberals were in government. Kerrie Tucker was the chair of the education committee and I am sure that that was a unanimous decision. It endorsed the fact that young people need holistic education. We have to understand that education does not just happen inside the schools and it is absolutely wrong to blame it for—

MADAM TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The member’s time has expired.

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (4.27): Mrs Dunne has brought this MPI on not because ACT education is in some disarray—of course ACT education is quite well regarded across this country—but because there is always room for improvement; there are some alarming concerns regarding curriculum and some other issues. That is why Mrs Dunne has brought this MPI on.

For Dr Foskey to blame Mrs Dunne and identify her as undertaking an ideological attack on education is a bit rich. There is no ideological ground left on education. Dr Foskey’s constituency ideologically attacked education years ago. Of course, that has occurred here in the ACT as well as across the country.

Dr Foskey talks of cultural change being necessary, but if she were really objective Dr Foskey would identify that as cultural deterioration. For Dr Foskey, talking about traditional standards is clearly like pointing the bone as she shrieks in despair. We are talking about standards, Dr Foskey—tried and tested standards by which our children are prepared to be good citizens of our nation.

The Chief Minister got up and attacked the opposition and said that we attack education. In fact, we defend education. As I was saying, we are always striving to see whether it

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