Indigenous education group’s funding cut

Dec 26, 2013 by

The Abbott government has taken funding from a key indigenous education advisory group, citing the “tight fiscal environment” and the need to cut red tape.

One would have thought experts would mean an advisory group such as ours.

The chairman of the First Peoples Education Advisory Group, Emeritus Professor Paul Hughes, received a letter this week advising him that the group, formed two years ago and comprising a number of indigenous academics, principals and other education experts, would no longer receive funding.

The letter from Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion said that while he appreciated the expertise of members of the group, the fiscal environment meant the government had to consider any expenditure “very carefully”.

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Mr Scullion said the government was dedicated to improving the lives of indigenous Australians through the empowerment of local people and cited the government’s new indigenous group, headed by Warren Mundine.

“Supported by the overarching structure of the Indigenous Advisory Council, the government’s focus will be on engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander expert stakeholders around specific issues,” he said. “This is in line with our policy of reducing bureaucracy and red tape.”

“I would like to thank you for your contributions to date on efforts to improve the educational outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.”

Professor Hughes said the members of the group, which was established by former education minister Peter Garrett, had a year left on their contracts.

He said he was surprised and disappointed by the move, especially the notion that the government would now seek to engage with “expert stakeholders”.

“One would have thought experts would mean an advisory group such as ours, which was set up for that purpose,” he said.

“I particularly worry the quality of advice they’re now going to receive from experts will be diminished.”

The latest round of NAPLAN school test results showed indigenous students continue to lag far behind others in literacy and numeracy, though some encouraging gains have been made in recent years in reading.

Mr Scullion has been contacted for comment.

via Indigenous education group’s funding cut by Abbott government.

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    If Australia wants aborigines to join the wider world, they should learn to
    read. Try my website!
    Received wisdom, the “professionals” have been too wrong too long! A writing road to reading works for all, any age, dyslexic or not.

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