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Cultural Diversity in Australian Schools

             Australia is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse nations in the world with over 6 million Australian residents born overseas, 25% of the population with a language background other than English and over 75% identifying with an ancestry other than 'Australian'. (ABS, 2011) This paper will examine the issue of cultural diversity in Australian schools and assess government policy which addresses multiculturalism and its impact on students' educational experience and outcomes. To begin with this paper will outline the key points raised by Julie McLeod's article 'Educating society' and assess the extent to which Australian schooling challenges the inequalities associated with cultural diversity. The contention of this paper is that policy is being guided by an increasing awareness of the implications of a multicultural society and aims to challenge the inequalities faced by students with a diverse cultural and linguistic background. However, although the rhetoric of the policy is well intended, there continues to be a marked gap in opportunities and outcomes for students who don't identify with the 'dominant' Australian culture. In addition to this, this paper will demonstrate that there is still a long way to go in addressing the inequalities in Australian schools starting with the need for a fundamental change in attitudes toward and understanding of diversity and its implications for education, particularly at the level of curriculum development.
             Sociology of Education – Social Dimension to Education.
             In her article 'Educating Society' (2009) Julie McLeod's main focus is the sociology of education and how issues of class, race and ethnicity and gender intersect with education on a fundamental level. 'Sociological studies of education show how educational institutions are part of the social fabric and how what happens in school-scan both reflect and have consequences for social relations and social processes.

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