Evaluating the Bilingual Education Program in Warlpiri schools

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The Bilingual Education Program in the Northern Territory was established in 1973 to deliver an effective education to students in remote Indigenous schools. In 2008, the NT Government closed the Program, citing low student achievement in English literacy as its rationale. This chapter evaluates the program according to a wider set of criteria, with particular focus on the Warlpiri schools. It considers the training of local staff, community involvement in schools, the development of curriculum, and extensive literature and linguistic documentation. These criteria are not prominent in government evaluations, yet are identified in national and international literature as key to achieving student outcomes (UNESCO 2008a, 2008b; Silburn et al. 2011) and echo priorities expressed by Indigenous adults involved in education.


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