Literacy poor for indigenous students
ABOUT half the young Aboriginal students in New South Wales are below the minimum reading standard, a figure that has not improved in the past decade, a report says.
The report, Improving the Literacy of Aboriginal Students in NSW Public Schools, was prepared by NSW Auditor General Peter Achterstraat, who has called on the State Government to develop programs to increase literacy rates in Aboriginal students.
Mr Achterstraat warns the government its goal of halving the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous students by 2018 is unachievable unless it takes a new approach.
The report found that by Year Three, 40 per cent of Aboriginal students were at or below the minimum reading standard.
By year five, that figure had climbed to 50 per cent.
“Schools need tailored programs suited to their circumstances,” says Mr Achterstraat.
Several schools have developed programs which eliminate the literacy gap and he says those initiatives cand be adopted across the state.
“You can take the programs that are working well in some schools and modify them and apply them,” he told Sydney media.
“We’ve got to look at what are the good things happening at those schools and apply them to the other schools.”
NSW Greens MP, John Kaye, says the report has identified failures of successive governments to meet their stated goal of closing the gap.
“The Auditor-General savagely criticised the Education Department’s ad hoc approach to improving the literacy of Aboriginal students,” Mr Kaye says in a statement.
“The report sends a strong warning to Education Minister Adrian Piccoli: put more resources into the system now, or even more students will be left behind as Aboriginal enrolments increase.”