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NT Govt defends bilingual education policy

Northern Territory education minister Chris Burns has defended the Government’s policy on bilingual education after it was criticised by one of his federal Labor colleagues.


Under the Territory Government’s policy, all children – including those in remote Aboriginal communities – must be taught in English for the first four hours of school.

But Senator Trish Crossin says children need to be taught in their own language first.

Dr Burns says there is nothing superior about bilingual education and the debate over its merits is purely academic.

“There’s no startling superiority in terms of bilingual,” he said.

“I know some people have got a long-term attachment to it but really what I’m interested in is really engaging with communities to get kids at the end of the day to be able to participate to get jobs, to be able to contribute back to their community in many different ways.”

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