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The Forum > Article Comments > Offering educational opportunities > Comments

Offering educational opportunities : Comments

By Stephen Hagan, published 21/2/2008

The inducement of money to entice experienced teachers to remote communities is a step in the right direction but not if the home environment isnít also remedied.

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Noel Pearson is the only worthwhile aboriginal spokesperson known to the general public. He doesnít make excuses. He has been heard to say the young people should get out of remote communities to learn. Itís bewildering, then, that he should be looking for teachers to go to remote communities.

Of course kids of aboriginal background need to be educated. But first, they have to get out of remote communities where education is not worth anything to them. Whatís the point of education where there are no jobs and never will be any jobs. The idea that worthwhile jobs can ever be created in remote Australia for a certain very small section of the population is absolute nonsense. Never will any government provide conditions paralleling those in urban areas to any outback area for any group of people.

The idea that teachers need to be qualified in specifically aboriginal areas is daft. Keep teaching the differences, and aboriginals will continue to be left behind. If their history and culture is important, let them learn it from family. It is of no use to them in earning a living and bettering themselves for in the real world.

If itís good enough for pontificators like Stephen Hagan and the growing gang of black agitators, not to mention the majority of ordinary aborigines earning a living, to live away from remote settlements, itís good enough for all aborigines.

Only when politicians find the sense and guts to put a stop to separate development and special conditions for aborigines will the lives of these people improve.
Posted by Leigh, Thursday, 21 February 2008 9:23:25 AM
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Yes, when is the white middle class going to ever admit that there are no hunter-gatherers any more and that this idyllic pathway is simply not an option, and hasn't been for fifty years ?

If this is so, then why are people parked out in the most remote parts of our common country ? What opportunities have people had out there ? No, I would have to admit - after half a life-time of planning and hoping and training for Indigenous community economic development - that economic development is not going to happen on the great majority of settlements (don't count the three-man camel abattoir, or the odd five acres of grapes, or the handful of cabins called a tourist resort).

So, if people aren't living anything like a traditional life, and they are not prepared to work and build up their economic base, then what ? And what is the role of education to remedy this situation ?

Surely, it is clear that if children, with their parents' support, want to get a good education, then they will need to go away and study at boarding schools - completely voluntary, of course. And when I say voluntary, I mean voluntary, 100 % voluntary, up, down and sideways voluntary. No wink, wink, taking the children away, no: genuinely voluntary. Certificated, stat decs in front of JPs, voluntary. Proclaimed before public assemblies if necessary, notices on poles, but voluntary.

Education for Indigenous children will not ever be effectively offered in remote settlements, that has been a cruel trick. Opportunities cannot be explored at remote settlements.

Most Indigenous people in Australia live in towns and cities. Their health and education are vastly better than they are for the segregated population. More than twenty thousand Indigenous people have graduated from universities, with another twelve hundred each year, and a rapidly growing young population, precisely in the cities. In the cities, it's all up and up, but in the remote settlements, it could hardly get more down, more degraded, more hopeless. Let's give those kids a chance at life, for God's sake !
Posted by Loudmouth, Thursday, 21 February 2008 12:11:06 PM
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No matter what is taught at school, Children will ultimately be influenced by, and will inevertably succumb to, the habits and teachings, by observation, and experiences, of the, home environment, ie. Mother Father, Brothers and Sisters and not to forget, Uncles and Aunts. The Extended Family. And adopt and develop in that direction.
Posted by ALB, Thursday, 21 February 2008 9:02:01 PM
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"Children will ultimately be influenced by, and will inevertably succumb to, the habits and teachings, by observation, and experiences, of the, home environment, ie. Mother Father, Brothers and Sisters and not to forget, Uncles and Aunts. The Extended Family. And adopt and develop in that direction." says ALB.

This is the point of the advocacy by Pearson and Langton of the boarding school solution, which ALB seems to ignore: if they are in decent boarding schools they will have different role models and good access to high quality education. Many parents, despite their shortcomings, actually want their kids to get out and get a decent education. If somebody can supply paid places in good boarding schools, I will help many remote Aboriginal parents get their kids to them. I have tried and failed in the past, because the subsidies haven't been available.
Posted by Dan Fitzpatrick, Thursday, 21 February 2008 10:04:33 PM
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ummm..so how do you access whether or not a teacher is experienced or not..

and will the brightest of the brightest necessarily be able to operate out of their comfort zones?

And what about the system of schooling, governance, curriculum, health of students, etcetera etcetera etcetera.

Schools are much more complex social, cultural and pedagogical environments than what is assumed in this piece of regurgitation.

But exploring these complexities might threaten the strong desire for silver bullet solutions.

And we could not have that could we!
Posted by Rainier, Friday, 22 February 2008 5:05:15 PM
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"I have tried and failed in the past, because the subsidies haven't been available".

Yes, one of the first things the Howard cut was subsidisation to boarding schools for remote Aboriginal students.

The thousands of dollars used to prop up failing government run schooling in remote schools is a farce.

A system that has failed at least 3 generations now.,

But also remember many urban Aboriginal kids have the same problems of access, low literacy and numeracy, and thus diminished life chances.

But once again, the culture war that is dependent on politicising and using the remote vs urban dichotomy will supercede a wholistic approach for all Aboriginal kids.
Posted by Rainier, Friday, 22 February 2008 5:19:44 PM
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