This is a reasonable appraisal of remote Aboriginal secondary schooling …

Comment on Indigenous education review: no more ‘biliteracy’; boarding for secondary students by Ralph Folds.

This is a reasonable appraisal of remote Aboriginal secondary schooling but it lacks an analysis of the alternatives it advocates, particularly boarding schools. In NT boarding schools, declining and highly erratic attendance, disputes between students and financial troubles have all been abundant over the past few years but the reviewer believes that this approach will work with ‘community support’.
There needs to be a lot more discussion around the relationship between communities and boarding schools.
In 2010, I was employed as a consultant to run community workshops in the remote Pilbara WA to find out how parents and community members thought that the (failing) boarding school model could operate better.
Some of the results were surprising.
These meetings concluded that the parents did want their older kids to attend boarding schools, in fact, they strongly supported the idea.
They said the problem was keeping their kids at the school and they were clear that the kids had claims on them that created attendance difficulties.
For example, if they visited the boarding school and students wanted to return home with them they could not refuse, even if the students had been perfectly content at the school before their visit
On their part, the only community events parents wanted the kids back home for were funerals of close relatives – nothing else.
The final conclusion of these workshops was that parents wanted boarding schools situated as far away as possible from the community, they specifically said that they did not want the community to be easily accessible to the school.
They also said that they wanted as little direct contact with the school as possible during term time.
Contrary to ideas around close school- community connections, engagement and accessibility, the Pilbara parents supported a model of a distant, hard to access boarding school that operated without their involvement during term time.

Recent Comments by Ralph Folds

Gunner Government ‘droving’ away investment
They want native title holders telling pastoralists what they can and can’t do on the land that they manage and operate properties in a $1bn industry.
They want the traditional owners of the land, since time immemorial, to be empowered to have a say on the use of their land.

Massive illegal dumping will test the EPA
The cost in tip fees for processing the dumped waste pictured would be around $1000. The cost of removing the dumped waste from the environment would be three times that or more.
It is not helpful either to the environment nor to ratepayers that the council charges such high fees.
Disposal of general waste – Commercial $127.80.
Disposal of clean fill and rocks > 20cm / demolition / concrete (per ton) $127.80.
Disposal of Whitegoods – $67.20.
Disposal of large truck tyres (not mining / industrial truck tyres) $80.80.

IAD under external administration
IAD Press is nothing short of a national treasure.
It has published many uncommercial but highly valuable language resources over the decades.
Meanwhile, the teaching arm of IAD is probably defunct and cannot be resurrected.
It has lost its key trainers, its reputation and is besieged by competition.
A wild idea 1:
IAD Press be privatised by Aboriginal organisations and largely funded by Centrecorp.
Wonderful kudos for them nationally for doing this.
All local organisations use it to print their reports and many other publications.
Wild idea 2:
The IAD property be sold and the funds used to maintain the press.

Dumbing down Alice Springs
We all know that the NT Government is heavily mired in crippling debt.
Of course, the CDU has to be downsized and it must happen in a sensible manner.
Simply, which courses are producing real outcomes, i.e. getting students jobs?
Higher education for remote students is laudable but has failed at huge expense over many years.
How many Aboriginal teachers and nurses are there who are actually employed?
Almost none.
There are many courses that lead to almost zero employment outcomes.
Art courses in the Correctional Centre is one of them and this must be discontinued.
Music was abolished some time ago but somehow art survived.
The NT can no longer pay for recreational courses.
The NT Government and CDU do have to slash costs but should maintain the courses and staff that are producing real employment outcomes.
The rest do have to go and the sooner the better. We are broke.

Mating odour to catch feral cats
Cats roam and I wonder how many much-loved pet cats have ended up on this rural property.
Cats should always be trapped and taken to the local shelter.
Shelter staff and volunteers will then check for a microchip to see if there is a registered owner and advertise online to try to re-home. They are dealt with humanely at all times.

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