The Rationalist Society of Australia has urged the nation’s education ministers to turn to experts in developing the new national consent and relationships curriculum.
In a letter to acting federal education minister Stuart Robert and state and territory ministers (see letter below), Dr Meredith Doig welcomed their commitment to introduce a health curriculum that will teach students about consent, respectful relationships, gendered stereotypes, coercion and power imbalances in an age-appropriate way.
Education ministers are expected to sign off on the new approach when they meet in April to finalise the national curriculum.
Dr Doig told ministers that much work had already been done in this space.
“There is no need to start from scratch. Specialists with experience in primary prevention of sexual harm, education and child psychology already know what sort of curriculum would be most effective,” she wrote.
“The new curriculum should draw on their expertise, but focus on an early coordinated and comprehensive program of implementation, with adequate funding and policy support.”
Si Gladman is Campaigns & Communications Coordinator at the Rationalist Society of Australia. You can contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @si_gladman
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RSA letter to education ministers
On behalf of the Rationalist Society of Australia (RSA), I’m writing to you as Minister for Education to welcome the decision of Australia’s education ministers to commit to the introduction of a new national consent and relationships curriculum.
As we said last month, we think a new curriculum would have a positive impact on educating youth about consent and respectful relationships. We strongly believe all schools – including independent religious schools – should be required to provide students with evidence-based and age-appropriate sex education.
There is no need to start from scratch. Specialists with experience in primary prevention of sexual harm, education and child psychology already know what sort of curriculum would be most effective. The new curriculum should draw on their expertise, but focus on an early coordinated and comprehensive program of implementation, with adequate funding and policy support.
We recommend the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) oversee this rollout, as it has the necessary curriculum expertise and the experience in conducting consultations.
Such a process would ensure broad community support for the new curriculum and content aligned with community expectations.
Dr Meredith Doig,
President, Rationalist Society of Australia