Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 1 May 1991



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 1 May 1991

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Parliamentary Record 3


Debates for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 1 May 1991 National Dorothea MacKellar P'>try Competition attest to the quality of education. It is a nationally-adopted policy to develop a Language Other Than English Program. Rapid Creek Primary School is the only primary school in the Northern Territory that provides foreign language instruction from preschool right through to Year 7. In fact, not 1 but 2 foreign languages are offered. To close this school as a result of 'inadequate programs' would be a gross insult to the professional competence and achievement of the staff. It would be a slur on their ability to teach which they would carry with them on their disrupted career paths. To close this school would show little or no appreciation for the diversity and quality of courses being implemented. To close this school would show what you think about developing a clever country. In regard to cost savings, not one audited set of accounts has been presented by yourself to show where any financial savings can be made. Such is the level of your guaranteed consultative process and, Mr Stone, just how much do you enter on the debit side of your ledger for such things as disruption of family routine, danger from crossing major arterials, dissolution of community spirit, dispersal of children's friendships and loss of value of neighbourhood homes? Mr Stone, if you close any school in the Territory on economic grounds, it will be clear the CLP's philosophy on education is buy a pub, close a school. Yours faithfully. Mr Stone: Could you table that? Mr BELL: I seek leave to table that letter. Leave granted. Mr Stone: Good, because I have not seen it. Mr Bailey: He has not seen it! Mr BELL: Mr Speaker, there are 2 points in that letter in which I am particularly interested. The central issue is the tone of a school, the capacity for kids 'o receive education and to be involved actively in a process of learning. Nobody should appreciate this better than the Minister for Education who, like myself, spent some time as a school teacher. The quality of the institution, the tone of the institution, is crucial. The minister rises in this Assembly and says blithely that those programs can be transferred elsewhere. I do not believe that that can be possible on the basis of the type of process that the minister has carried out. The second point I want to make in respect of Rapid Creek Primary School relates to something that is of a particular interest to me, and that is the Language Other Than English program. There is a national language policy document that I believe should be the subject of debate in this Assembly, and it is my intention to raise it either in an adjournment debate or at some other time. I believe that that Language Other Than English program at Rapid Creek Primary School deserves strong support because, if we are to make sense of language education in the Northern Territory, on the edge of 777