Bilingual education under threat-AIATSIS symposium 26/6

Media Release: WGAR – Working group for Aboriginal Rights

Bilingual education under threat

The Northern Territory Government has taken steps to limit and phase out bilingual education in their jurisdiction.

There is no evidence that this move will help any students to achieve better results at school.

Ellie Gilbert, a spokesperson for WGAR said today that these moves are counter to the Australian Government’s decision to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“Article 14 of the Declaration states that Indigenous peoples have the right to their own schools where Aboriginal students are instructed in their own languages and taught their own cultures” Ms Gilbert said.

“We need to ensure that Aboriginal students can exercise their universal rights to learn their languages and culture.  The importance of language is well understood in the international community. It is a tragedy that ancient Aboriginal languages are not afforded the same respect in Australia. Language is the source of identity.”

A symposium organised by AIATSIS (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies) to discuss bilingual education is to be held in Canberra on 26 June at the Visions Theatre, National Museum of Australia, Acton Peninsula, Canberra, ACT.

WGAR calls for broad public support to retain bilingual education and for as many as possible to attend the symposium.

Contact:  Ellie Gilbert

Phone – 0421 795 639

2 Responses to “Bilingual education under threat-AIATSIS symposium 26/6”

  1. S. Baker Says:

    I am very concerned about the dismantling of the bilingual education programs in the NT. I am presenting to TAFE students in the Visual Program SA my work that aims to raise public awareness about this issue – and hope that other artists will join me in demanding government accountability. Are you familiar with Tove Skutnabb-Kangas book, 2008 ‘Linguistic Genocide in Education or Worldwide Diversity and Human Rights?’ Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers New Jersey. I imagine she would be a first class speaker to engage in this battle if she is available.I am sure institutions/universities etc would embrace this rigorous messenger who demands world attention to our ‘language footprint’. Best wishes

  2. cathy gill Says:

    I strongly support bilingual program as an ESL teacher of many years .It has been widely agreed in academic reasearch that strenght in first language is the scaffolding for second language learning.

    NT schools need proper funding and extra resourcing to help students suffering great disadvantage due to all the well documented causes which have been dominating recent media reports.

    Once upon a time there was extra funding for disadvantaged schools programs, which included extra teachers and resources. How about funding teachers instead of all those extra beaurocrats administering basic cards

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