Hindu and Islamic identity in Australia and ramifications for curriculum development in select areas of social education

Year: 1994

Author: Lovat, Terence

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Recent research by the author into significant Hindu and Islamic communities in New South Wales, Australia, has uncovered conceptions of identity which clearly differ from those which are assumed in the formation and development of new public curricula in the areas of Religious Studies and Values Education. This would seem to confirm the hypothesis that a lack of effective consultation with these and other such groups in the implementation of these curricula has left them subject to the domination of Australia's more traditional religious cultures. The fact that new curricula in social and cultural studies could be implemented which lack the capacity to provide cultural continuity and preserve the cultural heritage of Hindu and Islamic Australians in the way recommended by the Galbally Report (1978) and, more recently, the report of the National Advisory and Coordinating Committee on Multicultural Education (1987) may be indicative that such injunctions have been largely ignored.

This paper will explore the above theme, as well as provide historical testimony to the rights of Hindu and Islamic followers to be provided with curricula that preserve a religious cultural heritage. Finally, the paper will summarise the results of the field research so far, with particular concentration on those conceptions of religious identity that would seem to differ from those assumed in the curricula in question.