Advocacy group calls for more Palestinian perspective-led content within key classes

A Palestinian advocacy group of educators wants to see more discussion about the Palestinian perspective included in Australian classrooms.

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

At a special forum held in Melbourne on Monday this week, the pro-Palestine group Teachers and School Staff for Palestine have agreed to encourage educators to alter Victoria’s school curriculum by adding content that explores the Palestinian perspective of the war in Gaza to English and history classes.

The move comes after calls from some Jewish leaders and politicians to demand Victorian Education Minister Ben Carroll take measures to cancel the forum, with opposition education spokeswoman Jess Wilson and deputy Liberal Party leader David Southwick saying that concerned parents wanted the event scrapped, amid concerns it could put the safety of Jewish students in schools at risk.

But with the forum – entitled Why there’s no ‘neutrality’ on genocide – having taken place on 22 January, Teachers and School Staff for Palestine say they now want to implement “the voices and perspectives of Palestine” into what they teach.

Should teachers make political views known to students?

“Inserting personal political views into classroom teaching is a direct breach of the Victorian teachers’ Code of Conduct and their obligation to teach the curriculum in an objective and professional manner. Minister Ben Carroll’s silence is no longer acceptable,” Ms Wilson says.

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Zionist Federation of Australia President Jeremy Leibler added his own concerns, saying: “Parents don’t want dangerous radicalisation from the Middle East or elsewhere brought into the classroom”.

“This extreme indoctrination is offensive to all Victorians and risks the safety of Jewish students in an already tense environment where anti-semitism is on the rise,” he says. “The AEU and Trades Hall should distance themselves from this toxic propaganda.”

However, Teachers and School Staff for Palestine released a statement supporting the outcomes of the forum, saying the event was an “opportunity for educators to be safely in dialogue with one another and continue (their) work of teaching respectfully and inclusively”.

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]