Are Indigenous voices being heard?


Sir – I am encouraging Education Minister Peter Minister Chandler to work with stakeholders on the feedback received from Territorians regarding the proposed Education Bill.
On behalf of Territory families and school communities we provided their feedback and clear recommendations for any new education legislation.
Of particular importance is the voice of Indigenous families who provided strong feedback to us regarding the current parent” definition which does not allow for a person who, under Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tradition, is regarded as a parent of a child.
This current definition of a parent is not inclusive and reflective of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family traditions and we have requested that the definition of a parent be redefined as a matter of priority.
Furthermore, the impact for families with the proposed lowering of the compulsory age of schooling is significant. With research demonstrating that by delaying kindergarten enrollment for one year there are significant mental health benefits for children.
Researchers found that children who were held back from kindergarten for as little as one year showed a 73% reduction in inattentiveness and hyperactivity compared to children sent the year earlier.
COGSO listened to the majority of the almost 800 voices who provided feedback on their concerns with the proposed Education Bill. The Minister has their feedback.
We now ask the Minister: Has the Bill changed from what we originally saw? Are Territory voices reflected in the legislation? Has the Minister listened?
Tabby Fudge
President, Northern Territory Council of Government School Organisations


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