Cessation of CIN

By Warren Brewer

The Australian Curriculum Information Network and its related subsets (Australian Studies, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Environmental Studies, National Curriculum Software Review and Asian Studies) will cease operation as from 30 June next.

ACIN has had a short and somewhat uncertain history. The original concept was introduced by the former Curriculum Development Centre in Canberra in the late 1970's. The C.D.C. attempted to provide a mechanism for identifying, capturing and sharing, exemplary teaching and learning practices among systems and schools. ACIN was deliberately conceived as a network with no centralised collections of materials and no systematic accessing of the data. It intended to put teachers and curriculum workers in touch with each other across the nation. That vision has only partially been realised and the challenge remains. ACIN subsequently· become absorbed into the newly formed Curriculum Corporation. The sub-sets were added on the representations of specific interest groups and state agencies contributed to, and accessed, the database for specific purposes.

The decision to terminate CIN was taken as a consequence of diminishing returns from subscriptions and a consequent recurring loss that could not be sustained by the Corporation in current economic circumstances.

The potential for a national curriculum information database remains. The necessity of a national database to support national curriculum activity has been demonstrated in the U.K. through the agency of the National Education Resource Information Service (N.E.R.I.S.). A similar Australian system would require a highly flexible and friendly software platform and realistic funding arrangements. Perhaps more importantly it will require a change in teacher culture. Teachers generally are only beginning to realise the value and effectiveness of obtaining information electronically when undertaking their daily curriculum and lesson planning activities.

Perhaps it may be possible to revisit the ACIN concept when more propitious circumstances prevail.

If there are unresolved issues or difficulties that arise from the termination decision the Corporation should be contacted.

Warren Brewer

Curriculum & Information Manager