The Hon Marion Scrymgour MLA, Deputy Chief Minister of the NT
The Hon Warren Snowdon MP, Member for Lingiari - Minister for Defence Science and Personnel
The first residential boarding facility on the Tiwi Islands was officially opened today at Pickertaramoor on Melville Island.
Three family group homes have been constructed at the Tiwi College, providing accommodation for up to 36 students.
These homes are an important part of the Tiwi communities' dream to give children a better education and a better future.
The Australian Government has committed $16 million to the Tiwi College, $2 million of which is for an extension to the college this year to increase enrolment to 84 children.
In 2006, the retention rate of Indigenous students in the Northern Territory from year 8 to year 12 was 40.5 per cent compared to the non-Indigenous rate of around 75 per cent.
The Australian Government knows that education is a key driver of change and is essential to closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
The family group homes provide students with accommodation from Tuesdays to Saturdays with full-time house parents to ensure the students are fed, rested and prepared for class.
Students are required to participate as an active 'family' member by undertaking cleaning, cooking, washing and shopping for the household.
Some classes, including literacy and numeracy, are conducted at the family group homes to strengthen the link between family, school and the community.
The college and family group homes will equip students with a broad range of skills targeted at filling the skills shortages of developing industries and services on the islands.
The boarding capacity will be increased to up to 48 students once the fourth home is completed. Students commenced classes at Tiwi College in February 2008.
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