AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM MSCA – PART 2
Updates to the Australian MNC
As stated in Part 1, MSCA was formed at the request of the Montessori community and as such we are working for the future sustainability and authenticity of Montessori in Australia. When necessary, we will advocate for appropriate procedures, integrity, and the rightful protection of community documents such as the Montessori National Curriculum (MNC).
MSCA had hoped to see the MNC updated and presented to the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) for approval after a proper consultation process that engaged the community and the original MNC contributors. Instead, we discovered an absence of a professional, rigorous, authentic and transparent process prior to its attempted submission to ACARA in mid-2020, which concerns us. We liaised with ACARA about the fact that the organisation which originally presented the document to them (Montessori Australia Foundation; MAF) had gone into liquidation, raising questions about the MNC ownership.
Subsequently, we investigated the copyright ownership of the MNC by contacting and speaking with most of the original contributors while also engaging expert legal advice. The result of that investigation found that the copyright is legally owned by those who originally contributed to the creation of the document: the 19 volunteers and NAMTA. This means that no individual or entity is permitted to publish or reproduce the MNC without a licence from the copyright owners, or a transfer of copyright. This also means that the Montessori Australia Group Pty Ltd (MAG) do not own the MNC as it was not an asset that could be purchased through the liquidation of MAF.
MSCA does not wish to stand in the way of important progress and we fully support the MNC being updated and approved by ACARA. We are not interested in claiming ownership of the MNC; rather, MSCA wants to protect the integrity of any updates to the MNC to ensure that what ACARA eventually assess is a legitimate, Montessori-expert and community-approved document. As a representative body for many Montessori schools and centres, we do expect valuable Montessori resources to be maintained with integrity and will advocate for such practice.
MSCA wants to ensure that MNC updates are conducted as part of a legitimate process that both the Australian curriculum and other alternative frameworks undergo. Based on these examples we have previously provided a proposed consultation and review process to MAG (linked below). After prompting from MSCA, we are pleased to see that MAG has engaged in a form of community consultation, however, the community is still waiting to hear further details of the full process proposed to be undertaken as part of any updates. We would like to see a way forward so the community can have access to a legitimate curriculum framework for their schools and centres as an open-source document.
MSCA is unwavering in its position on the following:
- We insist that the rights of the copyright owners are appropriately acknowledged and that MAG has the permission to make changes to this document.
- The MNC should be truly free to the whole Australian community, not bound by subscription or membership to an organisation.
- The MNC should be updated and reviewed based on a professional, rigorous, authentic, documented and transparent process that involves AMI and Montessori Institute trainers as well as the owners of the MNC.
- Important Montessori assets such as these should be maintained by an independent group of “Montessori Custodians” comprising, at the very least, both AMI and Montessori Institute trainers, other appropriate personnel, and including representatives from MSCA and MAG.
MSCA was formed at the request of the Montessori community and as such we are working for the future sustainability and authenticity of Montessori in Australia. When necessary, we will advocate for appropriate procedures, integrity, and the rights of copyright owners. When things happen in our community that go against our democratic principles, we will speak up about it and represent you, your rights, and your needs. We encourage you to contact us by email to discuss the contents of our important messages or to share your ideas and feedback. If you would like to learn about MSCA’s Montessori National Curriculum consultation minimum expectations, you can read more on our website here.