LETTER: Remote areas NAPLAN results a disgrace

Sir – The 2012 NAPLAN results show close the gap indicators for education are going backwards under the Gillard Government and the results in remote and very remote areas are a disgrace.

In 14 out of the 20 NAPLAN indicators the gap has widened compared to 2011. The gap has doubled in Year 3 numeracy with 72.7% of Indigenous students meeting national standards compared with 95.1% of non-Indigenous students – a gap of 22.4%.

In 2011 the gap was 12.8%.
Less than half (48.8%) of Indigenous students met the national standard in Year 9 persuasive writing.
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 very remote Indigenous students in the NT 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 even enrolled and not getting an education at all.
Education will be at the centre of our approach to Indigenous affairs if we win government. Improving the standard of education provided and making sure children attend school will be priorities for us.
The Prime Minister’s Close the Gap report for 2012 showed disappointing results on most measures and the situation is worse in remote areas.

Under a Coalition Government, our Close the Gap report will break down data geographically to help better target our efforts.

Senator Nigel Scullion
Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs
Deputy Leader of the Nationals
Country Liberals Senator for the Northern Territory

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