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 gutting of regional offices in places like Alice Springs. The cuts have not been made from the top levels, from among those who play golf with each other, have a drink together after work and assure each other that they will be looked after. It has been put to me that the rationale behind this is that the system will recover one day and the structure will be developed again. Therefore, the decision has been taken to retain a hard core of experienced bureaucrats in place to build on when that time comes. That is how they justified it among themselves. They agreed to look after each other and let the cuts be made at the bottom. Those figures go to the core of the deception that the minister is peddling. The reality of cuts to teaching staff and schools is revealed 1n his own departmental document. The reality is also that he intends to save over $9m by changing the staffing formula and $2m by closing schools as opposed to the total lie in the statements by the Chief Minister and by the ministers that the bulk of the cuts have been made in administration. Mr Stone: Would you prefer that I increased the formula? Mr EDE: It is despicable, and you deserve censure for it. Let us look at some of the effects of these cuts in the staff ratios on schools. There are 3 major effects: the class sizes are increased, the curriculum is narrowed, and the promotional opportunities are reduced. Class sizes will increase by up to 25%. The numbers of teachers in schools will be reduced and this will result in a change in the existing numbers of classes. It may be possible for some classes to be accommodated by means of absorption, but there are particular problems with the smaller schools. Whenever class sizes are increased, the quality of education declines. Secondly, there will be cuts to the curriculum. With the reduction in teacher numbers, some schools will have to examine seriously whether they can continue to offer all the courses that they provide at present. The options would be to reduce the curriculum or to make class sizes so large as to be totally unworkable. Once again, this will have a worse effect in small schools. Thirdly, there will be restrictions on promotion. When the staff formula is reduced, positions are lost at all levels. The number of Band 2s, Band 3s and Band 4s is always dependent, on the staff-student ratio. If positions are reduced at the bottom, that reduces the availability of experience teachers would have gained in them. As a result, the opportunities for people at that level to obtain promotion are reduced similarly. That situation immediately exacerbates problems of recruitment and retention which are already major concerns in our schools. Mr Perron interjecting. Mr EDE: Where have you been? And do not use the argument of the master teacher program. I have been waiting for the proposition to be made that somehow the master teacher program will provide an alternative opportunity for teachers to be promoted. The role of the master teacher program has been changed as well. In fact, I doubt whether the master teacher program will be able to survive because the original idea of master teachers was to ensure ... Mr Stone: Did you support it? Mr EDE: Yes. 820

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