Anyone involved in NT Education or Aboriginal languages has probably heard this already, but a couple of weeks ago the NT Minister for Education released this, which says that the first four hours of education in all NT Schools will be conducted in English.
Obviously this is bad news for any communities who want to maintain or revitalise their own Indigenous language in their own school (before lunch, that is). It is particularly appalling for all those involved in bilingual education - programs that help students engage with their education, including English, by delivering it in their first language (while they are young and haven't learned much English yet). The bilingual programs actually produce better-than-average results in terms of English literacy, especially when they're done well. So does the Minister invest in them further? No. It looks she wants to scrap the whole thing. How ridiculous to think that non-English speakers will learn English purely by immersion. If that was true, anyone who watches Home and Away every day should be fluent English speakers, but it's just not that easy. It helps greatly if someone explains things to you in your own language - especially when you're still learning... especially when you're, like, five.
What a joke.
I'm especially appalled because I firmly believe (as does the United Nations) that Indigenous people, just like anyone, have the right to be educated in their own language, if they choose. How dare the Minister take away this basic right and dictate that only English be spoken for the first four hours of delivery in ALL NT schools.
So yes, I'm appalled and disgusted. I'm drafting a letter to the Minister as are many others. I'll post more about it soon.