Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 2 Hansard (8 March) . . Page.. 489..
have been very successful in not only engaging Indigenous students in education but working towards improving outcomes.
Only last Friday I had the great pleasure of presenting five scholarships to Indigenous students to assist them in the completion of their year 11 and 12 studies with a particular focus on the government's election commitment to increase the number of Indigenous teachers and teachers' assistants. These scholarships are aimed directly at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students within the ACT public education system to encourage them to go on to a career in teaching.
It was very good to see in the second year of this program five new scholarship recipients in addition to five scholarship recipients from the previous year continuing their studies into year 12. We were also able to see the success of the first round of scholarship holders, a number of whom have gone on to university here in Canberra and in Sydney. That, I think, was an important outcome of just one element of the government's response to improving education outcomes for Indigenous students.
We continue to work in partnership with the Indigenous education consultative body. That body and I will be hosting a forum very shortly on sport and education and the value that Indigenous students place on active participation in sport and recreation and its capacity to drive improved educational outcomes. We continue to work closely with the Indigenous community and hope to see a continuation of these positive outcomes.
MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, a supplementary?
MS HUNTER: Yes, Mr Speaker. Minister, will NAPLAN data and results be used to track the progress that you are making in the area of the achievement gap in literacy and numeracy for Aboriginal and Torres Islander students?
MR BARR: Yes, Mr Speaker, amongst other measures.
MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan, you wanted a supplementary?
MS BRESNAN: Yes, thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, can you give us a projection of how long it will take to reduce the gap by 25 per cent?
MR BARR: Off the top of my head, no, and it would depend on which particular area of assessment of literacy and numeracy—which year levels. It would be very difficult to give such a straightforward answer to a complex question. I think in fact the question itself is somewhat insulting of the issues that we are attempting to address here—a 25 per cent improvement in which particular measure? There are many different areas of engagement that we are attempting to improve, outcomes that we are attempting to improve. To try and simply, I suppose, compact it all into one simple measure I do not think accurately reflects the complexity of the issues. So we will continue to work actively and diligently to achieve better outcomes in this area.
MS LE COUTEUR: A supplementary, Mr Speaker?
MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Le Couteur.