ON LINE COMMUNICATION IS NOT ALWAYS THE BEST OPTION

Googling the ‘Department of Education NT’ brings up a home page with links to an absolute plethora of information about education in the NT. Literally, everything anyone might want to know about education in the NT is there. It is possible to spend many hours online learning a great deal about what has happened and what is planned for education.

Online exploration leads to information about individual schools the length and breadth of the Territory. In most cases, information is reasonably up to date, providing a quite excellent picture of the attributes, characteristics and accomplishments of each school.

Sadly, this departmental and schools picture is hidden from the NT community at large, because in order to find out about what our system and its schools have to offer, it is necessary to go online. That method of discovery and exploration is not countenanced by everyone. There is also the issue of convenience and the fact that people have to program time to sit down and discover what NT Education is about. The ‘richness’ of public education in the NT remains largely undiscovered.

The NT Department of Education has a Media and Marketing Section, with part of its function being to add to online information about the system and its schools. This is done quite diligently and information is generally current. However, the question is one of whether this reaches people for whom it is intended.

The reality is that many people do not go online when seeking particulars. They prefer more old fashioned and traditional methods of contact which includes print media. For this reason, publishing good news stories and sharing educational outcomes in a more traditional manner, should not be overlooked. While there are occasional good news stories in print media, on television and radio, they are few and far between.

It would be apparent to readers of NT newspapers that the largest percentage of good news stories and coverage of system and school outcomes is from education’s private sector. Part of this is due to requirements that government schools must clear media releases through the Education Department before release. While clearance to comment on policy issues is a must, I don’t believe that school principals should be precluded from sharing good news stories about school and student successes. Having to follow vetting and clearance processes takes time and by then good news is old news.

There is a place for websites and online sharing but the use of more traditional media for the purpose of sharing, should not be discounted.

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