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Values in our schools.

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Commonwealth Minister for Education, Science and Training

Media Release


MIN 128/02 19 July, 2002

Schools across Australia will be invited to develop and demonstrate what they are doing to support community values as part of a new study I am commissioning into what can be done to improve values education in Australian schools. Schools involved in the study may apply for grants of up to $7,000.

It is clear that schools have a vital role to play in teaching our students values. Values build character. The community expects schools to uphold values such as respect, compassion, courage and tolerance - our well-being as a society and our democratic way of life depend on these values. As a society, we should not be surprised to find that a values-free education risks producing a values-free adult.

Under this new initiative, priority in funding will be given to activities which emphasise values in the school programme and develop, implement and promote school value systems. Many Australian government and non-government schools already embrace and promote values-based education. This initiative will take this further.

Schools may wish to use the grants to develop school value systems (which could include student behaviour codes), to apply such systems, to integrate values learning into their curriculum (for example by strengthening student involvement in local communities and local voluntary organisations).

As well as supporting school initiatives, the broader study will consider values education practice in Australia, review Australian and overseas research and work with parents, teachers and students to determine how schools can foster the values of the community.

I also welcome the unanimous motion of support for the Commonwealth’s initiative from State and Territory Minister’s, as part of our meeting today of the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs meeting in New Zealand.

I look forward to working with the State and Territory Education Ministers on this important issue.

Further information about the grant programme will be announced shortly.

For more information:

Minister Nelson’s office: Yaron Finkelstein 0414 927 663

DEST: Jane Smith 0412 973 411