EDUCATIONAL POINT TO PONDER

There is one problem and one main problem only that underpins indigenous education. It’s that of school attendance.

I have been connected directly and indirectly with remote education (both as a school principal and an interested follower in retirement) and can tell you that non-attendance, disrupted schooling and “gapped” education is an issue of a half century or longer. It is the most enduring problem confronting indigenous education.

It stands to reason that with so much missed education, particularly in early years when key learning takes place, that aboriginal students are not going to succeed either within their communities or if they’re taken away into boarding contexts.

The problem can be fixed but people won’t bother. Take it from me that I had success in overcoming issues of school attendance.

For years I was principal of Angurugu School on Groote Eylandt and we overcame the problem; Angurugu now has the worst record for school attendance of any indigenous school in Australia. It’s not alone for chronic non-attendance is a problem everywhere but is one that educational systems will not confront.

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