The national curriculum authority has dismissed reports by a federal Liberal MP that students are being ''indoctrinated'' about ''Gaia worship'' in schools.
South-western Sydney MP Craig Kelly, a former rugby union player and small-business owner, claimed on his Facebook page the teaching of ''Gaia worship'' was proof that the national curriculum should be urgently reviewed.
''This ideology, this neo-pagan religion is set to be indoctrinated into all Australian children,'' he warned.
''With the business community expressing concerns about the inadequate literacy & numeracy skills of school leavers, and with Australia falling down the international rankings for educational standards - it's great to know that the new Rudd/Gillard/Greens NATIONAL CURRICULUM ensures that GAIA worship is preached to all Australian children.''
The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority said Mr Kelly had taken information about the history curriculum out of context.
''The coverage of the notion of Gaia would be brief and probably only part of one lesson,'' a spokeswoman said.
''The notion of Gaia is listed in the Australian Curriculum: History as an example of ideas about the environment from an historical perspective. The content description does not include a study of Gaia as a religion, nor does it promote the notion.''
In the year 10 history component of the national curriculum, students complete a section called ''The globalising world''. Within that framework, they can choose to study one of three topics, including ''the environment movement (1960s - present)''.
Within that topic is an overview of the concept of Gaia, which is the philosophy that the earth is a living, breathing organism and emphasises the interconnectedness of all living organisms on earth.
The history national curriculum is taught in all year levels in the ACT, Victoria, Queensland, Northern Territory, Tasmania and Western Australia. In South Australia, it has been introduced to all year levels except year 9 and year 10. NSW will introduce the history curriculum in stages from this year.
Australia's first national curriculum has come under fire since then-education minister Julia Gillard launched it in March 2010.
At the time, the Coalition threatened to scrap the curriculum, saying it placed too much emphasis on indigenous and Asian perspectives at the expense of the nation's British and European heritage.
On January 10, Education Minister Christopher Pyne announced he had appointed Professor Ken Wiltshire and Dr Kevin Donnelly to review the national curriculum.They will deliver their first report by the end of March.
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