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Labor must deliver a plan to fix the Northern Territory’s remote education crisis

There is a remote education crisis in the Northern Territory but it is clear the Albanese Government has no plan to fix the failings in Territory schools.

While the government has announced more funding to top up the serious funding failures of the Territory Labor government, where are the critical reforms required to ensure Northern Territory students get the education they deserve?

While he has written a large cheque, Education Minister Jason Clare has failed to secure any agreement to deliver better educational outcomes for Territory children.

The government must deliver a plan to get back to basics including by mandating explicit teaching in every Territory school. Investing in proven teaching methods to ensure students learn and remain at school is critical.

Labor must also address the high levels of truancy and lack of parental accountability which has resulted in so many Indigenous children failing to go to school.

School attendance in the Northern Territory has fallen to a ten year low of 77.2 per cent, with Indigenous student attendance at a shocking 59 per cent and as low as 20 per cent in some remote areas.

With more children not in school than ever before, it is no wonder youth crime is on the rise.

NAPLAN results for the Northern Territory are the worst in Australia with 35 per cent of students falling into the lowest band of ‘needs additional support’ and only 6.5 per cent of students in the top band.

For Indigenous students living in remote communities, many areas are lucky to have access to a teacher once or twice a week which is a national embarrassment.

More than half of education funding for Northern Territory schools is syphoned into bureaucracy and administration, rather than the classroom which has contributed to very poor educational outcomes.

Mr Clare’s tired mantra that he wants students to “catch up, keep up and finish school” demonstrates his failure to understand the scale of the crisis in remote Territory schools.

After almost two years since the election of the Albanese Government and Territory Labor in power for 19 of the past 23 years, the biggest gap to close in education is Labor’s failure to deliver a plan to fix Northern Territory schools.

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