Let me tell you that between 2005 and 2008, the Commonwealth will provide $2.1 billion for indigenous-specific assistance to preschools, schools and tertiary providers. And many of the more than 150 Shared Responsibility Agreements that we have entered into include specific education strategies. At Warruwi in the Northern Territory, for example, the community has asked that training and employment of indigenous education workers be provided with parents, local businesses and community elders all contributing to the building of a stronger learning environment at the school.
The Government has also entered into a direct partnership with the Tiwi Land Council and the local community with $10 million going towards building a secondary boarding college on the Tiwi Islands. Many individual schools are themselves doing innovative things to improve education outcomes. The range of activities in remote locations can be quite astounding. Healthy eating programmes, skills education, outreach courses, farming initiatives, linkages with TAFE, and preschool sessions for parents and carers for children as young as two. These sessions all recognise that the education challenge for indigenous children begins well before school.
Commonwealth and State Education Ministers agreed on a plan which will eventually see every indigenous child gain access to two years of early childhood education before their first year of formal schooling, which is a very significant step forward. But all these plans and all this early childhood support under the sun will count for nothing unless children actually go to school. And in the Northern Territory almost 28 per cent of school aged indigenous children are not even enrolled. We do need better data and that’s one of the reasons why the COAG meeting earlier this month I sought agreement from the Premiers and Chief Ministers that all jurisdictions will now report on school enrolment and attendance levels and we’re going to establish a national truancy unit to monitor, analyse and report on truancy data.
We all know that the level of achievement in the early years of schooling has major implications for retention and achievement in later years. And we all know that achievement in literacy and numeracy in primary schools is a key determinant of whether children stay on in the secondary environment. And the lack of literacy and numeracy, which is a problem in the entire Australian community – it is more acute in many indigenous communities but we shouldn’t kid ourselves that it isn’t a problem in large sections of the Australian community - has a big impact on employment prospects, as well as, of course, depressing people’s self-esteem and initiative. And the National Indigenous English Literacy and Numeracy Strategy aims at nothing less than indigenous children reaching comparable levels of literacy and numeracy to the rest of the Australian community. And as always we must value and encourage our teachers, because encouraging our teachers, as well as, of course, encouraging our local communities, is the foundation of a very successful approach to education.
I do want to pay particular tribute to the contribution of the corporate sector, to the privately-run Aboriginal Employment Strategy, where banks such as the Commonwealth and ANZ are showing what can be done through traineeships for indigenous high school students. Fifteen-year-old indigenous children in places like Moree, and Tamworth and Dubbo in New South Wales are working one day a week in a local bank, developing skills and earning income with the prospect of a full-time job at the end of a traineeship. St Joseph’s College in Sydney’s Hunters Hill, a well-known nursery of not only academic achievement, but rugby union football, also provides a model for those who think that obligations of this kind are for governments alone. The College’s highly successful Indigenous Scholarships Program brings students from centres such as Walgett, Cobar and Taree to the school community, supporting the boys and their families with financial and other resources. This year there are no fewer than 41 indigenous students at the College and that’s an important critical mass in a school community to ensure mutual support and to lessen possible feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Чтобы распечатать файл, скачайте его (в формате Word).
Ссылка на скачивание - внизу страницы.