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Elite athletes improving remote school outcomes.

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Media Release


18 April 2004 MIN 679/04

Sport is at the heart of an innovative project that has been established to encourage Indigenous youth in remote communities to attend school so they can improve their literacy and numeracy.

The Australian Government has provided $165,000 to the non-profit organisation National Aboriginal Sports Corporation Australia (NASCA), to assist them in the implementation of their Athletes as Role Models Tours (ARMtour).

This project involves the creation of a coalition led by the NASCA that includes the Department of Education, Science and Training, the Northern Territory Government, the “Dare to Lead” programme of the Australian Principals Association Professional Development Council, major sports and sponsors from corporate Australia including Vodafone, Nike, and the Macquarie Bank. They will work together to improve Indigenous education outcomes.

ARMtour involves some of Australia’s finest sports people giving their time and talents to visit remote communities. Past ARMtour participants include Olympic tae-kwon-do gold medalist Lauren Burns, netball player Sharon Finnan, rugby league player Nathan Blacklock, AFL players Ronnie Burns and Shaun Hart, swimmer Linley Frame, aerial skier Jacqui Cooper, and National Basketball League players Brett Wheeler, Ricky Grace and Daryl McDonald.

This year, NASCA, with the involvement of the Department of Eductaion, Science and Training, have further developed the ARMtour initiative to achieve stronger school-based outcomes in specific areas, including literacy, numeracy and student retention.

Improving Indigenous literacy and numeracy remains one of this Government’s highest priorities. On 5 April this year, I announced a $2.1 billion package for Indigenous education that included several specific initiatives to improve Indigenous students’ literacy and numeracy. This initiative that I am announcing today will complement these efforts.

The Athletes as Role Model Tours will deliver:

● Four extended visits annually to five targeted schools in remote Northern Territory

communities; ● On-going contact between role model athletes and students;

● Specialised training for these athletes in cultural orientation and the delivery of

positive educational messages; ● Incentives schemes for school attendance; and

● Purpose designed educational resources for educators and athletes to use to

improve literacy and numeracy.

The first ARMtour of 2004 will be held between the 18-25 April, visiting the NT communities of Yirrkala, Nguiu, Papunya, Mutitjulu and Docker River.

Media Contacts: Dr Nelson’s Office: Ross Hampton 0419 484 095 Dept of Education, Science & Training: Virginia Cook 0412 971 323