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Thursday, 11 April 1957

Mr HASLUCK (CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Territories) - For the past three or four years the Government has been providing a number of scholarships each year to enable children of the indigenous people of Papua and New Guinea to come to Australia for secondary education. At the present time, I should think there may be something in the neighbourhood of 1 00 such children attending secondary schools in Australia.

In passing I may remark that a great number of them are at secondary schools in Queensland and I would like to express this Government's appreciation of the cooperation it has received from those schools in providing for those children. The reason for the system of scholarships is that first of all, the primary education system of the Territory is beginning to produce a number of children who are ready for secondary education, but up to the present time we only have one secondary school in the Territory. It would be wrong to deny these children the opportunity of secondary education because we have not yet organized a complete education system in the Territory. Further than that, we feel that it is very important in the carrying out of our general administrative policy in the Territory that the people should have a better and a closer understanding of Australia. Starting at the secondary education level means that gradually, over the years, a number of children will be going back to the Territory as young men and women with an understanding of what Australia is like.

Furthermore, it is hoped that children who have the advantage of secondary education in Australia will return to their own country to become leaders in education, in public service, in medicine and so forth, and help to advance the welfare of the remainder of their people. The basis of educational advancement in the Territory must surely be the training of more and more of the indigenous people to become the teachers, the doctors and the public servants of the Territory.

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