Multiculturalism and education policy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The word ‘multiculturalism’ was all but unheard of a decade ago. Now it is bandied about as a rationale for citizenship, as a label for some types of television, as a ‘welfare’ category and as a major area of educational policy and school curricula. P. W. Matthews, head of multicultural education in the New South Wales Department of Education until 1981, was a clear exponent of this view. He drew up a model of Australian society which looked like a pyramid, representing its unquestioned hierarchical structure. Multicultural policy in education prescribes a better society, based on an understanding that some social groups are disadvantaged. Cultural patterns, viewed by ethnic politics as group life-chances and wider structural relations, need to be changed. In other places ‘culture’ is reduced even further to feelings, frames of mind, personal values or attitudes which can be chosen or dropped at whim.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEthnicity, Class and Gender in Australia
EditorsGill Bottomley, Marie M. de Lepervanche
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781003115540
ISBN (Print)9780868617121, 9780367718022
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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