Eleven Facts about NT Bilingual Schools

FACT 1: Bilingual schools teach English and an Australian Indigenous language
Literacy in the ‘mother-tongue’ is taught while a child is learning to hear and understand English. Over the 12 years of schooling about 70% of teaching will be in English.

FACT 2: A small percentage of Indigenous students attend bilingual school
16% of remote Indigenous students (7.8% of all students) attend nine bilingual schools. The remaining 84% of remote Indigenous students do not attend bilingual schools.

FACT 3: Bilingual schools out perform non-bilingual schools
Previous NT studies in the 1980s and 90s have shown that bilingual schools out perform non-bilingual schools in key English literacy and numeracy areas. See Fact 3.1 references on page 2.
Both national and international studies strongly indicate that teaching literacy in the mother tongue is the better way to support the development of English literacy. See Fact 3.2 references on page 2.

FACT 4: No evidence against bilingual schooling
There has never been a formal independent published report showing that bilingual programs have been anything but successful.

FACT 5: Bilingual program achievements were noted
The achievements of bilingual schooling were noted in the Department’s Indigenous Languages and Culture Report.
See Fact 5 reference on page 2.

FACT 6: Bilingual schools produce more Year 12 or NTCE graduates
Of the 31 Year 12 graduates in 2007, 70% came from bilingual schools. This means that a student is almost 9 times more likely to graduate from Year 12 if they come from a bilingual school. See: NTDET 2006 Poster: You Can Do It.

FACT 7: More teacher graduates from bilingual schools
There are more teacher graduates from bilingual schools than non bilingual schools. Up to 1998, 75% of all graduates (Ass Dip and Dip Teaching) from BIITE came from bilingual schools, or up to 1998 a graduate teacher was about 20 times more likely to come from a bilingual school. See comment on page 2.

FACT 8: Indigenous ESL students have double the student/teacher ratio as migrant ESL students. Migrant children from non-English speaking backgrounds attend intensive English classes with a teacher/student ratio of 1 to 10. Indigenous students with low or no English proficiency attend classes with a teacher/student ratio of 1 to 22.

FACT 9: Labour’s broken election promise on Universal Human Rights
Labour has forgotten its 2007 election promise to honour Australia’s commitments to the Universal Human Rights
Declaration, to which Australian became a signatory in 1948. See Fact 9 reference on page 2.

FACT 10: Labour’s broken promise to endorse the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights
Labour’s pre-election (2007) platform endorsing the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights Article 14 (below) has been
ignored. See Fact 10 reference on page 2.

Fact 11: Labour ignores Australia’s obligations under UN Convention of the Rights of Child 1989
Australia’s obligations under this convention talk about discrimination on the basis of language, ethnicity andidentity. See Fact 11 reference on page 2.
Page 2 15/12/2008 Email comments to: john.greatorex@cdu.edu.au
Eleven Facts about NT Bilingual Schools – References

FACT 3.1 references:
3.1.1 Devlin, B. (1995). The evaluation of bilingual programs in the Northern Territory, 1973–1993. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 113, 25-41.
3.1.2 Christie, M., Gale, K., McClay, D., and Harris, S., (1981) Academic achievement in the Milingimbi bilingual education program TESOL Quarterly, 297-314

FACT 3.2 references:
3.2.1 Greene, J. (1998). A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of bilingual education.[WWW document.] Retrieved
December 4, 2008 from http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/JWCRAWFORD/greene.htm
3.2.2 Meyer, M. & Fienberg, S. (Eds.) (1992). Case of bilingual education strategies. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
3.2.3 Ramirez, J.D. (1992). Executive summary of longitudinal study of structured English immersion strategy, early exit and late exit transitional bilingual education programs for language minority children. Bilingual
Research Journal, 16 (1&2), 1-61.
3.2.4 Willig, A. (1985). A meta-analysis of selected studies on the effectiveness of bilingual education. Review of Educational Research, 55, 269-317.

FACT 5 reference:
NT DEET (2005) The Indigenous languages and culture in NT schools report (2004- 2005). Pages 35-37, Retrieved
December 4, 2008 from:

FACT 7 comment:
Up to 1998 there were more bilingual schools, but as 3 out of every 4 teacher graduates came from a small number of bilingual schools (which in 2008 represents 16% of Indigenous students), then calculations show that up to 1998, a graduate teacher was approximately 20 times more likely to come from a bilingual school.

FACT 9 reference:
Universal Human Rights Declaration:
Article 26.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

FACT 10 reference:
UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights
Article 14:
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providingeducation in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.
Article 15
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public information.
2. States shall take effective measures, in consultation and cooperation with the indigenous peoples concerned, to combat prejudice and eliminate discrimination and to promote tolerance, understanding and good relations among indigenous peoples and all other segments of society.

Fact 11 reference:
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Article 29.1
“… education of the child shall be directed to (c) the development of respect for the child’s parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate and for civilizations different from his or her own …”


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