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Date posted: 5 June 2013
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Reform Council has released the fourth independent assessment of progress towards Closing the gap targets.
The report's release is just one day after Julia Gillard's announcement of a new Closing the gap target to ensure Indigenous children attend preschool or kindergarten (in response to the report's recommendation).
Chairman of the COAG Reform Council, the Hon. John Brumby said it was fair to say that the report highlighted some success as well as some cause for concern.
‘While Australia is on track to halve the gap in Indigenous child death rates, the Northern Territory is the only jurisdiction on track to meet the 2031 target to close the gap on overall death rates.'
And while both rates of Year 12 achievement have increased and levels of post school qualifications have risen, the data also suggest that improved educational success has not yet translated into improved employment outcomes.
Indigenous students are also not faring well in reading and numeracy - the most basic skills for education, work and personal wellbeing - with numeracy even showing some decreases since the National assessment program - literacy and numeracy (NAPLAN) began in 2008.
The Prime Minister said the new target would aim to ensure 90% of enrolled indigenous children across Australia attend a quality early childhood education program in the year before they start full-time school.
'Setting this participation target will help focus governments' efforts in early childhood education and drive sustained improvements in school readiness for Indigenous children across Australia.'
Source: Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Reform Council and the Australian Government
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