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Time to help parents, not punish them

Punitive approaches to managing truancy in the Northern Territory will not solve the problem because they fail to address underlying causes, say the Australian Greens.

"It's time the NT government stop trying to shift the blame and got serious about addressing the problems in schools in the NT, especially in remote Aboriginal communities," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.

"The NT commissioned a comprehensive report into education ten years ago which put forward practical measures to improve attendance and outcomes - ten years later they have failed to act on its recommendations and put in place the resources needed."

"Instead, the strategy is to demand schools develop their own individual attendance strategies - without providing the resources and the structural change they need to make it work."

"Student/teacher ratios remain unworkably high compared to other states. Aboriginal students across the border in South Australia have twice as many teachers," said Senator Siewert.

"The NT Government is also planning to restrict bilingual education - requiring half of the lessons across the school year to be taught in English - totally ignoring the need for quality bilingual learning programs to help children transition from their first language to English."

"A number of options are available to increase educational engagement, such as tackling the high levels of hearing problems by using sound loop speakers and teacher microphones to ensure that all students in the class can hear and understand what the teacher is saying."

"Its time the NT Government stopped blaming parents. This head in the sand approach will not improve attendance or lead to better education outcomes," she concluded.

For more information or media enquiries please call Tim Norton on 0418 401 180

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