SECONDARY school students could be asked to decide whether Howard government policies were to blame for the sinking of the refugee boat Siev X, under a proposed new modern history case study.
The course unit, proposed by the Siev X Secondary School's Case Study Committee, would ask Year 11 Modern History students to examine the role of the Howard government policies in the 2001 sinking, which claimed the lives of about 350 asylum seekers.
Students would consider a number of disputed claims, including whether or not the Australian navy sabotaged the boat before it left Indonesia, The Australian newspaper reports.
Federal education minister Julie Bishop slammed the case study, to be launched in federal Parliament today, as an “outrageous attempt to disguise a political agenda as school curriculum”.
Siev X Committee spokesman Don Maclurcan said the material had been developed in consultation with the NSW Board of Studies, and aimed to sharpen history students' analytical skills.
The Board reportedly denied this claim.
Sharpened analytical skills for history students has got to be good for democracy, has'nt it Mr Howard?