I had almost decided to stop talking about my reservations with the National Curriculum and just go along with it like everyone else.  After all, there are bigger issues in the world just now, like the GBC (global economic crisis aka global economic meltdown).  But as Tom Petty famously sang, ‘I won’t back down’ (though I prefer the Johnny Cash version)

So, as I was reading a recent offering from the CSE Seminar Series with the unlikely title, The European Union education and training agenda: An Overview by Gaby Hostens I came across the following term: Subsidiarity, and the explanation:

In governance, the principle of subsidiarity means that whatever can be decided and executed at a lower governance level should decided and executed at a lower level! For the EU education and training policies, it implies that the member countries remain fully competent for their education and training policies … Subsidiarity in EU education and training policies means that the EU has a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks that cannot be performed effectively at the level of the member states … In the conclusions for the framework on idicators and benchmarks (2007) the education ministers refaffirmed the following: ‘The development of new indicators shall fully respect the responsibility of member states for the organistation of their education systems and should not impose undue administrative or financial burdens on the organisations and institutions concerned … Ever since 1992 the principle of subsidiarity has been the leading principle for EU education and training policies.

Now translate that into the Australian context where the Commonwealth government is the EU and the states are the member states and it’s a policy totally at odds with the national curriculum push which is, we’re assured, in the traditions of world’s best practice. 

Subsidiarity. I like it.