Thursday, 18 November 2010

Bilingual education banned in the Northern Territory: teachers and communities break the ban: more at Melbourne forum

Public Forum
presented by 
 and the 
The NT Intervention: 
Why Teachers and Communities are Breaking the Ban on Bilingual Education

Thursday 18 November, 6:30pm

James Hardie Theatre, Architecture Building, University of Melbourne

Senior Indigenous teacher from NT Bilingual School (to remain anonymous until video link up)
Rosa McKenna, Friends of Bilingual Learning, former principal at Yirrkala School
Mary McKernich, Australian Education Union Victorian Secondary Councilor
Lucy Honan, Melbourne Anti Intervention Collective.

Bans on teaching in Aboriginal language for the first four hours of the school day were introduced in 2008 following the roll out of the Northern Territory Intervention in 2007. Under the guise of “closing the gap” on Aboriginal disadvantage, the Racial Discrimination Act was suspended, Aboriginal community land has been seized and community organisations, jobs and access to welfare payments have been dismantled.

The attempt to decimate bilingual programs was a territory government decision, but mimics perfectly the punitive logic of the federal intervention. Communities and Aboriginal culture are being attacked for the problems caused by all governments' chronic failure to support programs of self determination for Aboriginal people.

These schools are 
the first casualties of NAPLAN.

NAPLAN data from 2008 was used to justify the bans, but as Senator Trish Crossin and Dr Brian Devlin have shown, the literacy and numeracy data was deliberately misconstrued to suggest bilingual schools were under performing. 

In fact, there is overwhelming international evidence 
that bilingual learning is educationally sound, 
and the closure of the programs is 
a human rights violation.

So what is behind the bilingual bans? 

Why are Aboriginal communities resisting the ban?

What can Australians do?

Info Contact Shannon Price 0422 802 984
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