The Social and Citizenship Education Association of Australia (SCEAA) is deeply concerned about the Minister of Education Dan Tehan’s proposal to significantly increase the fees students will pay for Humanities degrees at Australian Universities.
Whilst we welcome the decision to decrease fees for students who study teaching, it is vital that future teachers have access to undergraduate Humanities degrees in History, Geography, Politics, Philosophy, Sociology and Economics in order to develop their knowledge, skills and capabilities to be Humanities teachers.
The Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Education Declaration (2019) states that schools in Australia must provide young people with the appropriate ‘skills, knowledge, values and capabilities to succeed in employment, personal and civic life’ (p. 9). This includes vital understanding gained through the humanities learning areas. The Australian Curriculum also focuses on the development of general capabilities in young people which are developed in Humanities degrees, in particular critical and creative thinking, ethical understanding, intercultural understanding, and personal and social learning. The important priority areas of studies of Asia and the Indo Pacific, education for sustainability and learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ histories and cultures also require a Humanities lens.
Future Humanities teachers should be drawn from a wide variety of backgrounds, so particular groups should not be excluded from studying the Humanities due to financial constraints.
We call on the government to re-think funding models so that all students, including prospective teachers, are encouraged and able to pursue study in the Humanities.