Alice Springs news
Alice Springs news; NewspaperNT
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Community newspspers; Australia, Central; Alice Springs (N.T.); Newspapers
v. 6 issue 46
Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.
have little impact on his work load. "The train would not have much effect because of the scheduling," Joe said. "You would need a lot of trains to beat the road trains." NT Fuels make almost daily trips from Darwin to Alice Springs, and the train would not be able to service the outlying areas where much of the trucking and road train work takes place. Later, over lunch at the Truck Stop where Mr Snowdon met others from the industry, it was suggested that if the train led to the growth of Tennant Creek and Katherine, the road train business might actually increase as there would be more people requiring more goods to be freighted. 'IF YOU CAN'T READ, OTHERS WILL RUN YOUR LIFE FOR YOU.' KIERAN FINNANE reports. "Aboriginal people make up 25 per cent of the Territory's population but they own half of the land, 80 per cent of the coastline, and all of the off-shore islands. "Every few weeks they are involved in signing multi-million dollar agreements, but most of them haven't got the slightest idea of what's going on, they need someone else to explain it to them. "That's a reason for having a good education." With characteristic passion and bluntness, Bob Collins, former Labor Senator, Cabinet Minister, and author of the recent independent review of Indigenous education in the NT, spoke to a well-attended Indigenous Education Forum at Yipirinya School last week. He told the gathering that jobs, while obviously important, were not the only reason to get an education. "I grew up on the land and left school at 15. I've got no qualifications but eventually I served as a Cabinet Minister for the Federal Government. "The only reason I got to where I did, was that I read everything I could lay my hands on, and I could speak English. "When I needed to I could speak English angrily, so that when I needed to give someone a hard time, I could. "Most Aboriginal kids can't do that. Today, if you don't have at least Year Seven literacy you have no hope of ever being able to run your own life. "Someone else will run it for you." Aboriginal children make up 39 per cent of the Territory's school-age population. Western Australia follows with just five per cent. Said Mr Collins: "With nearly 40 per cent of kids in schools being Indigenous, when we are talking about mainstream education in the Territory, we had better be talking about Indigenous education. "If we're not, it's about bloody time we did! Because when we are talking about the results of 40 per cent of kids being so far behind the rest, we are talking about a big social problem as well as an educational one. "Everybody can do more to make the situation better. That includes Aboriginal parents, but it's not fair or reasonable to say that they are the only ones." In response to questions from the floor, Mr Collins said that Aboriginal organisations could do a lot more, in partnership with the rest of the community. He expressed disappointment in the response he has had from the land councils in relation to the proposed new Indigenous Education Council of the NT. The review suggests that this body be formed as a partnership between the Department of Education, the Territory tertiary sector, ATSIC and the land councils. Mr Collins told the forum: "In my own 33 years of working in the Territory, particularly in the Top End, I have observed that the most important organisations in Aboriginal communities are the land councils. It's about time they came to the table on education matters." However, the responses to date from the land councils have been "very negative". The Territory Government's formal response to the review's 151 recommendations is expected by next March. Mr Collins said it is too early to make any judgement about how strongly the Government will respond. "A lot of the recommendations have a lot of money attached to them - and a lot don't. "But an important one on teacher housing, for example, will be very expensive. "That's about trying to slow down the number of teachers coming through bush schools, and it has to be done properly." Mr Collins cited the example of Maningrida, his home community, which has the biggest Aboriginal school in the Territory. He said this year there have been 42 different non-Aboriginal relief teachers through the school. Most of them had never taught in an Aboriginal community before, and had little to no understanding of Aboriginal culture and language. "There was not much education happening in those classrooms," said Mr Collins. "In fact, it would be fair to say, the teachers learnt more than they taught." He said attendance collapsed half way through the year. "The situation is terrible and getting worse. It's got to be turned around." He said people who think that everything has been tried and nothing works, should leave. "We have to put a sense of hope back into Indigenous education. "It has to become core business for everybody." COURSE LEADS TO JOBS. Students enrolled in work skills courses at IAD are putting some "runs on the board". Out of 27, five have obtained work, one in the motor trade, and four at the Kings Canyon Resort. Jermaine Woods started his four year
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