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End of Term One: Minister gets 'F' grade on indigenous education funding.

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Member for Lingiari

30th March 2005

End of Term One - Minister gets ‘F’ grade on indigenous Education Funding

“Education Minister Brendan Nelson’s changes to direct assistance for indigenous students have been a miserable failure in term one 2005. This failure will continue until the Minister listens to the voices of the parents and teachers and rethinks his whole approach.”Federal Member for Lingairi and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Indigenous Affairs, Warren Snowdon said today.

Changes to the Direct Assistance for Indigenous Students were announced last year replacing Aboriginal Student Support and Parent Awareness and the Aboriginal Tutorial Assistance Programs.

‘The changes and the tardy and totally inadequate roll out of the new funding scheme have already undone much of what the previous funding arrangements were achieving.’ Mr Snowdon said.

‘In the Territory term one is at an end yet no Schools have received funding and most have little idea of what funding they can expect for the remainder of the year. In fact my understanding is that the funding process will not be worked out until as late as July.’

‘The crucial role that parents had in identifying issues and working them through with schools in partnership to provide a win/win situation for the entire school community both indigenous and non indigenous has disappeared to be replaced by a sea of paper work being shuffled between schools, Department of Education Science and Technology offices and the Minister. Mr Snowdon said.

‘Students are not getting tutorial assistance, homework centres depend on volunteers, role model indigenous tutors are not being employed and schools,

parents and students wonder, what has happened to the programs effectively working up until the end of last year?’ Mr Snowdon said.

‘In addition it is now clear that whatever decisions are being made are being made by government officials in Canberra who invariably will have no first hand experience of the schools and communities who are the subject of their decisions.’

‘What is occurring is a paper shuffling exercise which is about as far removed from local decision making and the priorities of school communities as you can get. The process is a shameful waste of energy and resources and those who are suffering are the neediest students in the country.”

“The person responsible for this mess is the Minister Brendan Nelson , it is time he recognised his folly and fixed the problem by restoring the programs as they had previously operated.’ Mr Snowdon said.

Comments Contact Warren Snowdon 0419 606 601