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Government won't name expert reviewers of Australia's national curriculum

Can the folks let loose on the Digital Technologies curriculum spell HTML?

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Subject matter experts engaged to review Australia's national curriculum, including the new digital technologies curriculum The Reg has tracked, have been appointed. But the Department of Education won't name the reviewers until the final report on the curriculum is revealed.

The Reg makes the above statement after receiving the statement below from the Department of Education:

Subject area specialists have been engaged to conduct the curriculum analysis and benchmarking aspect of the Review in all learning areas of the Australian Curriculum, including Technologies. Reports from subject area specialists will inform the Review’s final report, which will be presented to the Government on 31 July 2014. The report will be publicly released, along with the names of all contributors, when the Government has considered its findings.

The small piece of good news - that the experts have been appointed and are working - is outweighed by their anonymity, because the Digital Technologies curriculum is only a part of the wider Technologies curriculum that concerns itself mainly with what used to be called "industrial arts". It is therefore possible that some of the reviewers may not be equipped or qualified to review the digital technologies content.

It's also possible that Bill Gates, Larry Ellison and Tim Berners-Lee are doing the review. Vulture South's point is that we won't know until it is published, and the lack of transparency doesn't exactly inspire confidence that wide consultation that went into the digital technologies curriculum will be taken into account.

That Australia is being offered no information about the people selected to conduct the review is probably an artefact of disquiet aired widely in media at the appointment of the review's principals, Professor Kenneth Wiltshire AO and Dr Kevin Donnelly. Both are widely felt to share senior government ministers' views on the current curriculum's deficiencies, which may or may not be a good position from which to conduct the review.

At a guess, education minister Christopher Pyne has little interest in a repeat of the controversy that followed the pair's appointment to head the review. Keeping the list of experts under wraps avoids any controversy neatly.

The Department told us the review will be delivered to government on July 31st, 2014. Just when it will be released is anyone's guess, but Pyne has said he expects a revised curriculum will be ready to teach in 2015. That should mean the review lands a good few months before the end of the year, to allow schools and teachers time to prepare for any changes. ®

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