THE study of the Holocaust will become compulsory for all NSW school students in years 9 and 10 after the Jewish Board of Deputies lobbied the state government for the curriculum change.
The chief executive of the board, Vic Alhadeff, confirmed he lobbied the Board of Studies and Department of Education for the change up until a month ago and commended them for the decision.
''I have been meeting with [the] Board of Studies and Department of Education for some time to discuss the notion that the Holocaust should be compulsory up to year 10,'' he said. ''Throughout our discussions, the leaders of both organisations have been extremely supportive of the principle of making Holocaust education mandatory. Our discussions have been very positive.''
Mr Alhadeff said he had raised the issue with the former state Labor government without success. The Holocaust has had a presence in the junior high school syllabus but was optional.
''The Holocaust is a warning to every generation about the potential for evil, especially as a consequence of racial hatred, and about the inherent evil of totalitarian regimes,'' Mr Alhadeff said. ''It teaches us that every generation owes it to itself and to future generations to cherish and, if necessary, fight to defend the sanctity of life, dignity and freedom.''
A spokeswoman for the Board of Studies said the Holocaust would now be included in the mandatory world history overview for years 9 and 10 in the new national curriculum.
A spokesman for the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority said the Holocaust would be covered in all states and territories in years 9 and 10 as a major world event along with World War II in the 20th-century world history curriculum.
More in-depth study of the Holocaust will also be available in the German history course offered in years 11 and 12, but is optional, under a draft version of the national history curriculum, which has not yet been approved by education ministers.
A spokeswoman for the Board of Studies said the Holocaust is now mandatory in the national curriculum history overview and will be taught in classrooms from 2014.
''The development of the new K-10 syllabuses involved consultation with a wide range of teachers and community representatives, however, the board did not receive a submission from the Jewish Board of Deputies during the consultation phase,'' she said.
Greens NSW MP John Kaye said the Holocaust is rightly an essential part of the state syllabus but should be taught in the context of the other 20th-century genocides.
Clarification: The original version of this story said the lobbying campaign by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies prompted the state government to include it in the syllabus.