, SYDNEY, Mar 1 – Australian school children will learn more about the country\’s Aboriginal history and relations with Asia in the country\’s first national curriculum, officials said on Monday.
The new approach, detailed in a draft document, follows Prime Minister Kevin Rudd\’s historic 2008 apology to Australia\’s Aborigines for their mistreatment since white settlement in the late 18th century.
"This is not a black armband view of history," Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who is also the education minister, told ABC public radio.
"Teaching the history of Australia requires us to teach the history of the first Australians, our indigenous peoples."
The new syllabus "contributes to an understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and identity and the role that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians continue to play in national life", the draft says.
"Students investigate the history of Australia\’s engagement with Asia, and the ways in which the relationship has changed over time," it adds.
Rudd admitted last month that progress had been "clearly too slow" on improving the livelihood of Aborigines, who suffer chronic high unemployment and poor health.
The Mandarin-speaking prime minister has also made a priority of engaging with Asia, home of Australia\’s top four export destinations: Japan, China, South Korea and India.
Australia has seen increasing amounts of Asian migration, adding to the country\’s multicultural make-up in a marked shift from the "white Australia" policies in place until the early 1970s.