More support for Holocaust education in Victorian schools

More Victorian government secondary schools will get the support they need to strengthen their teaching about the Holocaust and help stamp out anti-Semitism, thanks to an expanded partnership between the Victorian Government and Gandel Foundation.

Minister for Education James Merlino today announced that an additional 110 teaching teams at Victorian government secondary schools will undertake a professional learning program run by the Jewish Holocaust Centre before the end of 2022. This builds on the forty Victorian government secondary schools that are undertaking this program in 2021, as announced in December 2020.

Equal contributions from the Victorian Government and Gandel Foundation, for a total of $150,000, will give these 110 schools and their teachers the opportunity to undertake this valuable training program.

The ten-step program involves virtual and face-to-face components, including staff from the Jewish Holocaust Centre visiting schools to support curriculum review and planning. The teaching teams will also be able to meet a Melbourne-based Holocaust survivor and hear first-hand their unique experience.

The expansion builds on an announcement last year to ensure every secondary school teaches students about the Holocaust.

At the time, the Victorian Government also announced that new and refreshed teaching and learning resources for Holocaust education would be developed in partnership with the Victorian Jewish community organisations and Gandel Foundation.

The program uses these resources to help recognise the short- and long-term causes and effects of prejudice, discrimination and, ultimately, genocide. 

They teach students to become informed and active citizens, to protect democracy, and to value a diverse and inclusive society. Learning about the dangers of hatred and discrimination in the Holocaust is critically important in fighting intolerance and prejudice in today’s world.

The Victorian Government has also increased funding to Courage to Care, established a dedicated hotline to report racism for schools, students and parents, and established a new student advisory group to advise on how to address antisemitism and look at what more we can do to make sure our schools are inclusive communities.

These steps have been taken to ensure Victorian students learn the lessons of the Holocaust and schools play their part in tackling the growing wave of anti-Semitism evident in our community.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino

“A much greater emphasis on the teaching of the Holocaust will have a big impact on our students’ understanding of how much damage anti-Semitic behaviour can cause.”

“We are grateful to Gandel Foundation for their ongoing partnership in this important work in supporting our schools, so they can play their part in educating our children to value a diverse and inclusive society.”

Quotes attributable to Chair of Gandel Foundation, Mr John Gandel AC

“The Holocaust holds many valuable messages for today’s young generations, from learning what it means when people’s rights are eroded, or completely removed, simply because of their background, to finding about acts of humanity, compassion and sacrifice of people who stood up for the victims and the ostracised.”

“Through proper, deep and effective Holocaust education we can ensure that our young people become a force for good in this world.”