[lg policy] Australia: THE Northern Territory Government's language policy for indigenous schools finally has arrived at a sensible compromise.

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Fri Sep 2 15:20:40 UTC 2011

Compromise makes sense

EDITORIAL   |  September 2nd, 2011

THE Northern Territory Government's language policy for indigenous
schools finally has arrived at a sensible compromise.
That has been a long and painful road. Aboriginal education has
suffered either criminal neglect or hamfisted interference for many

The previous CLP government imposed an English-only rule, which was
rescinded by Labor but then partly reimposed in 2008.
The Government said the first four hours of lessons had to be taught
only in English. Many teachers thought this was correct. They argued
indigenous children were destined for a life of underachievement
unless they mastered the dominant language of English.

Your Say

"Ah well, Im glad they got that sorted. First four hours in English,
to first fours hours "Mostly" in English.Jeez you cant make this stuff
up. Whats nest on the agenda? Cheese with pickle or without pickle?
Well we better have a heated debate, im sure this is the most pressing
issue the NT gov has at present."

Others argued English was a third, fourth or even fifth language for
some students and forcing them to study mainly in English - at least
in the early, more formative years - would put them off education for
life. A revised policy now says the first four hours are to be taught
mostly in English; in other words, home languages can be used in

Education Minister Chris Burns denies the policy has been watered
down. That is the usual tactic of this Government - to sound tough,
soften the stance in the face of opposition or clear evidence the
policy is flawed and deny it ever had been tough. Paul Henderson's
Government at least should be congratulated for taking indigenous
education seriously.



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