The Areyonga case: Utulu Kutju Nintiringanyi ‘Learning Together’ presents the story of a small Pitjantjatjara school community that passionately believes in their ‘locally distinctive’, rich and engaging bilingual education program. In 2008, the Areyonga community was shocked by the Northern Territory Government’s sudden announcement that in order to ‘close the gap’ and improve remote students’ results on the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLaN), the first four hours of the school day must be conducted only in English. The community could not understand how relegating the teaching of their language and culture until the last hour of the school day could be an improvement. Particularly when Areyonga bilingual school’s attendance and literacy results were higher than that of ‘like’ remote English-only schools. Essentially, the Areyonga community were asking for ‘equality of opportunity’, for their children to be taught in and through their language at school, something English-speaking families take for granted in Australia. Areyonga community’s appeal for a ‘fair go’ for their children fundamentally challenged the Government’s revised notion of ‘equality’ that sought to treat everyone equally and expect the same results. Important lessons regarding educational equality and the need for consultation should be learnt from the Areyonga story.
|Title of host publication||History of bilingual education in the Northern Territory|
|Subtitle of host publication||People, programs and policies|
|Editors||Brian Devlin, Samantha Disbray, Nancy Devlin|
|Place of Publication||Singapore|
|Number of pages||18|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|