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Students quiz Nelson about their future Tuesday

20 MAY 2003

An aspiring journalism student concerned about the implications of proposed education reforms will take Education Minister Brendan Nelson to task at the National Museum of Australia this Thursday.

Dan Fisher from Eltham High School in Melbourne is one of three senior high school students from around the country who will quiz Dr Nelson in front of a live studio audience as part of the Talkback Classroom program.

Dan will be joined by Josh Clark from Normanhurst Boys School in Sydney and Prianka Puri from St Clare's College, Canberra, in questioning Dr Nelson from 10.00am in the National Museum's Studio on Thursday 22 May.

Talkback Classroom coincides with National Public Education Day and the opening of Discovering Democracy, a two-day National Museum forum on civics education.

National Museum Director Dawn Casey, who is delivering a Public Education Day lecture at the Canberra Institute of Technology at 12.30pm on Thursday, said programs like Talkback Classroom helped students recognise their role as individuals contributing to a democratic society.

'A democracy requires an educated public, and as educators have been saying for years, those publics just don't happen, they have to be made,' Ms Casey said.

'Talkback Classroom helps the voters of the future embrace their role as citizens in society. Whether it takes place in a museum or a classroom, public education is crucial to the maintenance of any healthy democracy.'

Talkback Classroom, now in its third year, gives senior secondary students across Australia the chance to question politicians and other key public figures on issues of concern to them and the nation.

The next guest is Prime Minister John Howard on Wednesday 4 June. Mr Howard will be questioned by three Australian students, along with three American counterparts, via a video conference with the Smithsonian Institute in Washington.

The National Museum encourages schools to use Talkback Classroom as a model for social inquiry, investigating topical issues through media production.