Burarra and Kunibidji attitudes to schooling at Maningrida CEC

  • Gregory Brett Mcdonnell

    Student thesis: Coursework Masters - CDU


    No males and no Kunibidji students attempted Year 8, which was the highest-level course offered at Maningnda Community Education Centre in 1995. This course and the next highest level course, General Studies, has attracted a preponderance of female Burarra students. This research project attempts to determine why this is the case, by investigating the attitudes to education held by the Burarra and Kunibidji communities and the attendance rates of High School students from the two language groups.

    In chapter two the thesis briefly reviews the available research on Aboriginal world view, the post-contact history of the Maningrida area including inter-tribal relations and the history of Abonginal education in Maningrida and in the Northern Territory. The literature on 'two-way' schooling, bilingual education and explanations for the poor performance of minority students at school has also been examined.

    The attendance records of Burarra and Kunibidji students in High School were analysed using the ANOVA procedure. There was found to be no siguificant difference between the attendance rates of the students iii the two language groups, nor between the attendance rates of males and females. Open-ended and semi-structured interviews were conducted with members of the two language groups to determine what their attitudes towards formal education were, and if these attitudes were reflected in student attendance and progress at school. The interviews were analysed using a grounded theory approach with the assistance of the software package N1JD.IST, which aids in handling non-numerical and unstructured data in qualitative analysis.

    It was found that the Burarra and Kunibidji communities want the bilingual programs currently operating at Maningrida CEC to continue. They offered a number of suggestions to assist the school to deliver the type of educational services desired by the community.

    Both language groups want an education which values both Balanda and Aboriginal languages and culture. They also want control of the school to be exercised by Aboriginal people through the CEC Council. Lack of formal qualifications on the part of the Aboriginal Education Workers and limited community involvement are the two main intervening conditions which are preventing this from happening. A number of strategies, including improving the communication between the school and the community and continued training for the Aboriginal Education Workers are suggested to overcome these barriers. The failure of parents to fulfil their responsibilities and ensure their children attend school, was identified as the main cause of non-attendance.
    Date of AwardJul 1996
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorBrian Devlin (Supervisor)

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