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Aboriginal schools look to "expel" Church


The Catholic Church could be removed from up to three Northern Territory schools in Aboriginal communities as locals attempt to improve education services in remote areas.

Originally established as a Catholic mission, the community of Nguiu, on the Tiwi Islands, is looking at overturning about 90 years of tradition by changing the management of its church-run schools. Two other communities are understood to be considering a similar move.

The Australian reports that community leaders at Nguiu will meet the Northern Territory Catholic Education Office next month to discuss concerns about the state of education.

Nguiu community president Gawain Tipiloura told the paper that the church is no longer providing a sufficient service and would most likely be replaced. "I believe they have got to move on," he said. "They are not really up to the job."

Mr Tipiloura said the move was not about kicking the church out of the community, but improving local education and infrastructure.

"We really need to take control of the education in our community," he said. "That's something we have never really been involved in."

There are five Catholic-run schools in four remote Territory communities, all funded by the Government and run by the church.

Northern Territory Catholic Education director Bill Griffiths said the church would stay only if it had the confidence of communities. However, it was keen to work with communities to improve the "woeful" state of remote education.

"We are in these communities by invitation," Dr Griffiths said. "If we are not wanted, we will not be there."

SOURCE
Aboriginal schools look to expel church (The Australian 29/7/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Education NT

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29 Jul 2005