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[Press statement]



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FOR PRESS:--

The Minister for the Interior, Mr Peter Nixon, today announced. for the second stage of a three part programme under which the Commonwealth is expanding educational facilities for Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory.

The programme, which. was commenced last year, provided for additional classrooms and teaching accommodation on settlements, missions an d pastoral properties..

Mr Nixon, said the objective of the programme was to have a full ra: •pe of pre-school, primary and post primary education facilities available to Aboriginal children of school age in the territory. At present approximately. 80 percent of priman^j school age Aboriginal children attended . school.

Under the first stage of the programme, which was completed in the last financial- year, an additional 48 classrooms ..and necessary ancillary buildings, and teacher accommodation on Government settlements and missions had been provided. • Four mobile school units had-also been provided for use on ... pastoral properties,

The second stage of the programme to be undertaken

during this financial year would provide a further 32 classrooms, ancillary buildings and teacher accommodation on settlements and missions and further mobile units for pastoral properties.

In addition the facilities at Kormilda College, at Berrimah, a residential training centre for Aboriginals, would be expanded to provide additional student and staff accommodation and teaching facilities.

Mr Nixon said the education system for Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory allowed for children of a minimum age of three years to commence a two year pre-school course. Emphasis of this course was on English comprehension

and number, concept.

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From pre-school the children entered an ungraded infant school where they remained for three years following a programme designed to suit their individual capabilities.

Depending on the abilities and achievements of each child as assessed during infant schooling the children then

moved into one of two streams of primary education. Those in one stream followed the normal primary school curriculum to completion of Grade VI and then spent 12 months at Kormilda College undertaking a transitional course before enrolling at public secondary schools.

Those in the second stream completed a further five years at primary school after infant school during which the r-` emphasis shifted s ",ightly from academic to technical- education. This was followed by a three year post-primary course of pre-vocational and vocational training covering manual arts and domestic science. 0

Mr Nixon said the Kormilda College residential training centre, which was to.-be expanded this year, provided a number of courses. These included a "12 month transitional course for children moving from the Aboriginal special schools to public, secondary schools and a three year post —primary course for children from areas where numbers were insufficient to

justify provision of secondary school facilities.

In addition Ko.cmilda College provided a 12 months training course for teaching assistants and pre-apprenticeship courses for boys who wised to take up trades.

It was intended to establish a similar college to Kormilda at Alice .Springs in a later stage of the Aboriginal education programme,

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IIr 'Nixon said it was- important that the educational

levels of Aboriginals be raised so that they could take full advantage of the opportunities available for better employment or for the development of Aboriginal owned enterprises in

the Territory.

The Government's policy was that Aboriginals should not suffer from any educational disadvantages because of remoteness from developed are^.s and economic factors which .applied at this stage to many Aboriginal families, he said.

Many Aboriginal children had special problems in

undertaking, the curriculum provided for schools in the

Territory and teaching methods. and curriculum in the special schools for Aboriginals .were designed, ,to , meet the special needs of the students,

13 November, 1968