Remote Indigenous education – what works?

Kirsten Storry has a new CIS report out today on a topic that could conceivably be the most challenging social policy issue in Australia: how to improve the schools that serve Indigenous children. Some of the statistics are awful (eg. across Western Australia in 2004, indigenous primary school children attended on average only four days per week; in 2000, not a single indigenous student from the western Cape achieved an education to Year 12 standard), but it’s refreshing to see some optimistic accounts of places where evidence-based education policy is producing results.

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2 Responses to Remote Indigenous education – what works?

  1. Verdurous says:

    Difficult issues. Depends what we are trying to measure/achieve. Here in the Torres Strait lessons are taught to five yr olds in English. Unfortunately the young children coming through are unable to speak the ancient languages spoken by their grandparents. Once they hit high school the “successful” or “wealthy” family send their kids away to boarding school in Townsville in the hope that they will be destined for “great things”. So if success means speaking English and leaving your home community (often never to return) then what does this say about the community left you have left behind. I agree Andrew that attendance is a problem for sure. There are steps taking place to address that here. The principal reports kids to Child Protestion on grounds of neglect if the children miss a specified number of school days per term.

    There have lately been some rearguard measures to try and stop the language and the songs and the stories and the dance from disappearing. Progress, success. I’m a little confused about what those words mean up here. Of course, I’m speaking as a person of European heritage and I am of course vulnerable to criticism. Rest assured I stay away from these discussions up here. It is not my business. But we all have views.

  2. ChrisPer says:

    From some in the know, a generation of kids are going through now unable to read , whose parents and grandparents could read and write perfectly well. One old-school teacher attributes it to ‘the Welfare’ changing approach; when they would take a child into care for not attending school the parents made sure the kids went.

    I went to primary and high schools with many Aboriginal kids, but I only met one in my university and he dropped out. I believe that there are many successful aboriginal families who work to keep their kids on the rails, but the peer pressure destroys their work at every turn. WHy then is the question what kind of SCHOOL improvements to make?

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