and Remote Education Inquiry Briefing Paper
7. Aboriginal and Islander
The role of the Aboriginal
and Islander Education Worker (AIEW) is to provide assistance to classroom
teachers and to carry out community liaison functions. The role typically
includes curriculum development work and classroom management assistance.
The AIEW also provides Indigenous language, literacy and cultural awareness
activities within the school.
The community liaison
role of the AIEW includes working with families, with community elders
and the broader community. AIEW staff may perform duties that include
translating or interpreting Aboriginal languages for school staff. They
also provide English translations for Aboriginal community members.
AIEW staff are provided
with on-the-job training. The requirements for the position involve knowledge
of local languages and culture and ability to work with school children.
The career structure for the AIEW includes four levels. Staff move from
one level to the next at the recommendation of the school principal. Currently,
AIEW staff are not covered by teacher unions. They do not enjoy the same
salary levels and conditions as their qualified-teacher colleagues. In
some states incentives such as study leave are provided to AIEW staff
who want to become qualified teachers. Only the Catholic Education Office
provides scholarships for AIEW staff working towards a teacher qualification.
and Islander Education Workers (AIEWs) and Home Liaison Officers are provided
to all government high schools and larger primary schools. These staff
establish and maintain vital links between the home and the school. They
assist by visiting homes, and are able to involve other agencies to respond
to families' needs. They assist in matters of medical and welfare problems.
They also assist with problems related to school, lunches, clothing, books
etc (Submission 26, NT Education Department).
[It] is support
through scholarships, HECS payments [that we can] get qualified Aboriginal
people employed in the education system, both mainstream and independent
(Submission 52, Yipirinya School, NT).
updated 2 December 2001.