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Celebrating civics and citizenship education champions.

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Media Release


5 November 2003 MIN 511/03

I congratulate two inspirational Northern Territory teachers for their efforts in winning the Special National Award category in this year’s National Discovering Democracy Achievement Awards.

Both teachers are to be commended for bringing a special focus on ‘Civics’ within the local curriculum. Tricia Smith is a teacher at Yirara College, a school dedicated to Indigenous students in Alice Springs, and Pam Cooney teaches at Marrara Christian School, in Darwin.

In total five national awards have been awarded in recognition of excellence and high achievement in civics and citizenship education around Australia.

Discovering Democracy is the Australian Government’s civics and citizenship education programme designed to encourage student learnings about Australia’s democratic way of life. The Howard Government has invested $31.6 million in the programme since 1997.

Discovering Democracy has emerged as a remarkable success story, allowing the Australian Government a mentoring role in promoting citizenship knowledge and values in Australian schools.

The Australian, State and Territory governments recently endorsed civics and citizenship education as one of the four pillars of knowledge requiring civics and citizenship education to be monitored - along with English, maths and science.

Today’s launch of Celebrating Democracy Week, 5-11 November 2003, is the third occasion this special awareness week has been conducted in Australian schools.

I am also pleased today to award the State and Territory winners of the Discovering Democracy Student Competition. Responses from around one thousand Year 9 and 10 students to the question ‘What values do you think are important to us as Australians living in a democracy’ were truly exceptional.

The names of the winners are attached.

For more information about the Discovering Democracy programme and the numerous

activities held around Australia during Celebrating Democracy Week visit the website:

Media contact: Minister Nelson’s office: Ross Hampton 0419 484 095 Department of Education, Science and Training: Martin Riordan 0412 107 104

The 2003 National Discovering Democracy Achievement Award winners are:

Special National Award (for the most outstanding contribution to promote the civic values of Australia’s democracy) ($2,500 and medallion)

Tricia Smith (Yirara College, NT) and Pam Cooney (Marrara Christian College, NT)

Primary Teacher ($1,500) Jacquee Ross (Singleton Primary School, WA)

Secondary Teacher ($1,500) Joint winners: Robyn Cleaver (Narrogin High School, WA) and Paula Simcocks (Kaleen High School, ACT)

Primary School ($1,000 for the school; $1,000 for the teacher) Home Hill State School (Qld)

Secondary School ($1,000 for the school; $1,000 for the teacher) Centenary State High School (Qld)

The winners of the 2003 Discovering Democracy student competition are:

New South Wales Jacqueline Dahl-Speck, Cheltenham Girls High School

Victoria John Droppert, Gippsland Grammar School

Queensland Alyssa Silva, Toowong College

South Australian Gus Schrader, Pembroke School

Western Australia Marrie Jayasinghe, St Maria College

Tasmania Courtney Jones, Ogilvie High School

Northern Territory Kyla Dalton, Batchelor Area School

Australian Capital Territory Kirill Talanine, Canberra Grammar School