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Aboriginal Education in the Remote Setting 

Remote Aboriginal Education is very difficult because most remote Aboriginal people do not see the importance of it for their young children.

Australian Aboriginal culture is so different than ours that it is impossible to understand why they seem to be always on the move.

This is however largely due to the duty they feel towards various relationships and cultural responsibility which are of great importance to them.

We as non Aboriginals are unable to see the importance of these relationships and likely can never fully appreciate them.

Their culture is in fact very different than ours.

Unfortunately the average Aboriginal student goes to school only one third of the school year.

He or she is pushed on to the next level because of their age not learned abilities.

The confined teaching methodology and socialization are very hard for people who spend most of their lives outside and with their own clan group. Learning is difficult because for the most part there are no study resources in the homes of Aboriginal people.

There are no books to read or even examine. Many would not have a table with chairs.

This lack of interest is because the traditional people have never had a written language so books are meaningless to them.

Unfortunately even if books are given they are not considered important and the older residents may not encourage their use. Aboriginal Education facilities however are of a very high standard and the teachers who try to teach find the conditions difficult to manage.

It is not unusual to have a registered student size of say 100 students enrolled and only have 30 odd students show up on any given day.

Educational programs are almost impossible to teach because of the irregular attendance of the students.

What we would call homework is nonexistent.

Discipline at times may be very difficult. Teachers also feel very isolated from friends and family but the provision of internet service almost everywhere helps some with that.

The various state and territory governments spend a great deal on trying to provide this educational opportunity for the Aboriginal people.

Since staffing is based on enrolment in many cases the actual teacher to student ratio is far better than in any other school system.

Unfortunately teaching resources go largely underutilized.Higher education at only the high school level is very difficult for Aboriginal Education because the student reaching the top level in school is really working on a very much lower level then his or her classmates coming from other schools and cultures.

Even with special programs to bridge students and bring them to major areas for higher education, only a very small percentage are able to accept this offer and stay in school for any sustained period.

The students feel so far behind that it is much easier for them to return to their communities and take up a life of existing and being with family.

For many this is the first time they have been away from their communities and for a people who are tied by culture to an area of land they feel vulnerable and alone.I think that it is unfortunate that so few of the stolen generation who are now adults do not choose to return to and live in the communities of their clans to help guide some of these young people.

Again though I can see how I see things as a non aboriginal person and I am sure that Aboriginal Education has a far different meaning to them then to us.

When we think of education we are thinking of academics and when they think of it is learning about relationships with the land and its creatures as part of their culture and dreamings.

Unfortunately time and society has moved on and we have a whole culture of people essentially lost in a time warp.