The following is an opinion piece from Senator Nigel Scullion:
A recent Government report shows that close the gap indicators for indigenous education are going backwards and the results in remote and very remote areas are a disgrace. In 14 of the 20 National Assessment Program in Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) indicators the gap has widened in 2012 compared to 2011.
For example the gap has doubled in Year 3 numeracy with only 72.7% of Indigenous students meeting the national standard compared to 95.1% of non-Indigenous students – a gap of 22.4%. In 2011 the gap was 12.8%. In 2012 less than half (48.8%) of Indigenous students met the national standard in Year 9 persuasive writing- in 2011 it was 55%.
With more people identifying as being Indigenous in urban areas you would expect the gap to reduce because of that change alone. Clearly the results in remote and very remote areas are pulling down the national average.
Across all indicators the average gap was 23.8% nationally, 37.5% in remote areas, 61.1% in very remote areas and a shocking 80.8% in very remote schools in the Northern Territory. In Year 5 reading, only 8.6% of Indigenous students in very remote NT schools met the national standard. In Year 7 persuasive writing the figure was 7.1% and in Year 9 persuasive writing it was just 3.3%. Add to that the fact that a significant number of NT school age children are not enrolled and not getting an education at all.
The previous Labor NT Government was in power for over a decade and, along with Julia Gillard and Jenny Macklin at a federal level, presided over these terrible results.
These results are yet another wake up call. The cost of continuing to do nothing is simply too high. A legacy of future generations of poorly educated First Australians is unacceptable and the consequences of such a failure would be profound.
A Coalition Government would break the data down to a local school level to better target our efforts. Education will be at the centre of our approach to Indigenous affairs if we win government. Improving the standard of education provided to indigenous students and making sure children attend school will be absolute priorities for us.
Download media release:
130417 School gap widens – Scullion op-ed -The Aust .pdf