Thank you for the opportunity to share this vision to assist indigenous remote area students
access appropriate education. The following is an outline of that vision and a submission of
a proposed budget to seriously tackle the issue, for your consideration.
Education Access Team:
NT Department of Education figures indicate that approximately 5000 NT mostly Indigenous
Youth have no access to secondary schooling. Recent Qld NAPLAN tests indicate that
50% of ATSI students have by grade 10, still not reached the broader average reading level
of a grade seven student and it would seem that without currently unavailable intervention
most are never likely to do so. Similar disparity is evident across the range of assessable
skills such as writing, spelling, maths etc. This translates to horrific levels of unemployment,
poverty and a life time of health and social issues. Successive Governments seem to
be trying to "mainstream" and standardise all services to Aboriginal people in an anything
but standard environment for ideological, economic and it seems political reasons. Though
this is working for some for many it has only compounded a sense of marginalisation.
Is Anyone Doing Anything About This?
I have been a member of the parent body of a group called "Education Transformations"
(ET). ET has in the Northern Territory demonstrated that a combination of alternative
education strategies with commitment can help Indigenous parents and communities
fulfil their aspirations for better educational and vocational outcomes for their children. In
recent discussions with ET CEO , Jeff Bateman we have been encouraged to form a new
body with broader scope for which ET is happy to provide mentoring in their areas of expertise.
The (writer) coordinator and founder of Indigenous Ministry Links Australia
(IMLA), Carl Musch, has been building a team/network with and serving Aboriginal people
at a grass roots level across the NT and Australia for 23 years. As such IMLA has its own
unique set of relationships, opportunities and skills (including a major role in the set up of
what has become the very successful Djarragan Secondary College in Gordonvale Qld). It
would be IMLA’s objective to work in co-operation with ET in the NT but
extend our impact across Indigenous Australia and other parts of the NT.
“…...Christ in you, the Hope of Glory.“ Col 1:27
The State and Commonwealth Governments make the finances available to provide teachers,
buildings and resources for Indigenous secondary students however they don’t seem to
be able to identify the people with the necessary relationship and skills in the Indigenous
community to deliver the needed education or infrastructure as the outcomes and NAPLAN
scores bare witness. We believe we can and must do better. The available funding to provide
schools and appropriate education exists but is accessed via a complex constantly changing
web of departments across all tiers of government, non government organisations and foundations
that require specialist knowledge and a series of hoops to jump through including
research data specific to each proposal, to access.
Education Access Team (EAT):
We hope to engage a team of administrative, education and construction people who work
with local committed Indigenous parents and their communities to lay the groundwork and
provide needed ongoing support in establishing independent schools which meet the unique
landscape of Indigenous education. This landscape is generally characterised by issues of
ESL, isolation, limited vocational opportunities, varied cultural values and health issues.
This team would focus on collecting the data required and accessing relevant government
and other funding to establish and build schools, provide specialised culturally
relevant teacher training and suitable educational resources. This would be done in
consultation and partnership with Indigenous parents and their communities. Establishing
schools will involve some project management also of building and equipping them
as required with appropriate technology. Though this funding request is coming from
IMLA it is envisaged that we will separately incorporate the EAT with the only link to
IMLA being relational.
If you are interested in financially assisting, please request the budget proposal by emailing us.
It is a budget based on the scale that we believe would best make a real difference in a
realistic time frame and yet be efficiently manageable. Of course if your organisation is unable
to fully fund this venture we would be happy to discuss part funding that would allow
us to start on a more modest scale and budget to at least begin to address this challenge and