Education Cabinet decisions
These are the Cabinet decision highlights about education in 1981.
Two-semester school year
In October 1980, Cabinet had considered a proposal to replace the existing three-term school year with a two-semester school year.
The submission noted that this matter had been a topic for discussion amongst teachers and parents in the Northern Territory (NT) for a number of years, and that some schools in Indigenous communities such as
Maningrida had been operating a form of semester system since 1975.
Members of the Education Advisory Council and the NT Council of Government Schools Organisation circulated and discussed the proposal throughout the community. The response from parents and teachers was reported as being greatly in favour of the proposal, and it was noted this structure was more in harmony with NT seasons and holiday patterns.
At the time, Cabinet had deferred consideration of the submission pending more consultation between interested departments and feedback from the public.
The proposal was re-submitted in February 1981 at which time Cabinet endorsed the introduction of a two-semester school year, to commence in 1982.
Green paper on primary and secondary education
In February 1981, Cabinet considered a Green Paper submitted by the Minister for Education on the direction of primary and secondary education for the 1980s.
At that time, the NT Government had been responsible for the delivery of educational services for Territorians for only 20 months. During this period, a core curriculum for all primary and secondary schools had been developed, technical and further education services had been expanded, regionalisation of the education system had been pursued in an effort to become more responsive to local needs, a Northern Territory Teaching Service was being created, a university was being planned and a new Education Act had been enacted.
The Green Paper noted there was still more to be done to develop a high quality, flexible, developmental system of education, geared to the needs of Territory students and conditions. The purpose of the Green Paper was to inform the public about what Government was doing in the field of education and invite input on possible directions for education in the 1980s.
Initiatives covered in the Green Paper included:
- changes in the year structure, including three streams of courses at senior secondary level (matriculation, Northern Territory Senior Secondary Studies Certificate and transition to work)
- incorporating Year 7 in high schools
- establishment of Senior Secondary Schools
- options for boarding facilities in Darwin
- evaluation and accreditation of bilingual programs
- improvements in Aboriginal teacher education
- expansion of secondary school programs in Aboriginal communities
- major reviews of primary and secondary core curricula
- alternative curricula for students with special needs
- expansion of in-service teacher training and development
- establishment of Advisory Councils on Special Education, Aboriginal Education and the Katherine Rural Education Centre.