If you are interested in Indigenous education in Australia or what happens when Governments get worried about minority groups not reading and writing the dominant language, check out Prioritising Literacy and Numeracy: A strategy to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes 2010–2012. Darwin: Northern Territory Government Department of Education and Training. There are some good things in it, but there are some worrying things. Take this paragraph:
"The language and cognitive skills domain includes basic literacy; basic numeracy; interest in literacy, numeracy and memory; and advanced literacy. The percentage of Northern Territory children vulnerable and at risk in the Language and cognitive skills domain at the commencement of full-time schooling is significantly greater than the national average, as indicated below." (p.6)
Now it may be that the NT has lots of children from all backgrounds who are at risk. But I bet this is code for "Indigenous children". Looking further - what is literacy? Literacy=English literacy. How are the cognitive skills tested? Almost certainly in English. This calls into question the reliability of the information on which this claim is made.
A lot of people in the NT are worried about the NT Government's approach to Indigenous education - Australian Society for Indigenous Languages (AuSIL) , Association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, NT branch (ATESOL NT) , Uniting Church in Australia, Northern Synod, Darwin Anglican Church of Australia, Diocese of the Northern Territory, Darwin and the Top End Linguistics Circle (TELC). They've got together to sponsor a seminar. So, if you're in Darwin on Thursday 9 September, hop along to Indigenous languages in education Do current policies match our needs?
7:30pm, Thursday, 9 September 2010
Mal Nairn Auditorium,
Charles Darwin University,
Contact: Phil Glasgow, 8931-3133