The NT Greens condemn the remarks of Liberal Federal Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham who this week denied the human right of Indigenous peoples to learn in their own languages at Braitling Primary School in Alice Springs this week.
SIMON BIRMINGHAM in Alice Springs on Tuesday stated that the role of federal government was to provide funding so that “children do learn in English throughout their schooling”.
NT Greens spokesperson and language education academic Dr Janine Oldfield states:
“Children need to learn in their language first so that they understand what is being asked of them, and what to do. The importance of children learning in their own languages is recognised by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“An extensive body of international research has found that the essential ingredient for Indigenous students’ academic success, for dominant language acquisition and for long term socio-economic success is Indigenous bilingual education.
“Simon Birmingham’s pitch for monolingual education is an outdated approach that has been proven to fail children all over the world. Denying children the right to learn in their own language not only hinders their ability to learn dominant languages such as English, but has been found to lead to other social harms such as suicide, and alcohol and drug misuse.
“Simon Birmingham outlined a plan that consigns our remote Indigenous children to languish in ESL programs and denies them opportunities to flourish.
“Further, the Minister failed to offer any additional support for training our local Indigenous teachers despite their participation being essential for Indigenous student engagement and participation.”
“The NT Greens condemn this flagrant disregard for the rights of our Indigenous Peoples.”