Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Aboriginal Education

Is sending aboriginal children to boarding school the answer to their education problems?
From the Four Corners programme EDUCATING KIMBERLY, reporter: Sarah Ferguson programme transcript:

BRIAN CLANCY, XAVIER PRINCIPAL, 2003-04: Well for the 20 years that I’ve been around, I’ve been arguing that it’s 80 per cent kids effectively are functionally illiterate, can’t spell cat is the example I use. Evidence that I’m getting now is it’s probably closer to 90 per cent, possibly higher.

It's difficult to selectively quote from the report because so much of what is said points to neglect, lack of community spirit, abuse of substances and alcohol, and tribalism. And defeatism.

KATHRYN VAN EGMOND, XAVIER PRINCIPAL (to students in classroom): So well done.


But it’s very hard, isn’t it, to be in here and hear the fighting going on and the families fighting, and some of them are your family, yeah? Your family? So you need to now think next time that happens stay in the classroom because you might get hurt if you go out there, alright? But congratulations...

SARAH FERGUSON: Kathryn will soon find out that one of her Aboriginal teacher's aids had his jaw broken in the fight and has been flown to Darwin hospital.

KATHRYN VAN EGMOND, XAVIER PRINCIPAL: From what I can gather there was a family fight between two families over footy tipping, which is just ridiculous. We’ve got the proximity of the fight so close to the school. We had our best numbers ever today - 56 kids out of 56 - and we lost them all because of that outrage that occurred on the school grounds
Trying to round up kids to go to school:

SARAH FERGUSON: Kenny Walapinni is pleased to be sent away from the chaos in town.

KENNY WALAPINNI: Yeah, a lot of problems.

SARAH FERGUSON (to Kenny Walapinni): You don’t feel safe in Nguiu?


SARAH FERGUSON (to Kenny Walapinni): Why not?

KENNY WALAPINNI: Because they drink in the club and after that like starting to like whinge and starting to fight, like someone else starts to like, hey are you talking to me? Like that, yeah.

SARAH FERGUSON (to Kenny Walapinni): And you don’t like that?

KENNY WALAPINNI: No. I just run away, don’t want to look at that.

SARAH FERGUSON (to Kenny Walapinni): So it's better to be away from Nguiu at Tiwi College for you?

There is much more information in the transcript.

It's no wonder that education fails in communities like this one. School is optional. There are so many other things happening in the community - fights and so on. Children are lucky to get some sleep.

Excuses are also made by some about sending the children away to school.

DR CHRIS SARRA, INDIGENOUS EDUCATION LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE: You know, it doesn’t make sense to me to take children with a very strong sense of belonging away from the places they belong. The bulk of Aboriginal children and Torres Strait Islander children aren’t ready for that option. The boarding school option is an option for a sliver of kids and of that sliver of kids who access that, only a sliver of that sliver survive, you know?

SARAH FERGUSON (to Chris Sarra): Is that the solution, the sort of local boarding school as opposed to going away to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane?

DR CHRIS SARRA, INDIGENOUS EDUCATION LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE: Well for me that that seems to make much more sense.

So Chris Sarra would suggest that the kids be schooled locally. Hello? Chris? It isn't working. Try again.

I urge you to read the transcript. The video is at the site, too, if you would prefer to watch that.

Stolen generations is a lie. They were the saved generation.

Here, Keith Windschuttle warns against a push for black separatism.

This paper may also be of interest. I haven't had time to read it in full.

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