Rethink needed on schools’ anti-radicalisation programs, says expert

by Sarah Bachman06 Oct 2015

NSW schools’ anti-radicalisation programs for schools are “waffly” and require a stronger focus on similarities between religions rather than their differences, said Professor Ken Wiltshire.
 
Wiltshire, co-chair of the Federal Government’s review into the national curriculum, said that while the programs were “better than nothing at all”, they failed to address intercultural understanding.
 
“There is very little emphasis on Western values and the curriculum is too vague. What we really need is an emphasis on interfaith and intercultural understanding,” Wiltshire told The Daily Telegraph.
 
The professor’s comments follow Friday’s fatal shooting of a NSW Police employee by a 15-year-old student, Farhad Khalil Mohammad Jabar.
 
Currently, NSW schools provide the Crossroads program, which aims to “build positive thinking, self-belief and a sense of empowerment by evaluating the contribution of personal strengths and achievements on the meaningful futures of self and other.”
 
The Board of Studies says the programs are “age appropriate” to students and teach them about racial cohesion alongside how to avoid risky behaviour.
 
However, Wiltshire said schools are spending too much time teaching about the differences in religion instead of pointing out their common values, such as the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
 
He said the radicalisation of the Bali bombers could be traced directly back to the school they attended — prompting Indonesia to consider drastic changes to its education system.