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Rural and Remote Education Inquiry Briefing Paper


and Remote Education Inquiry Briefing Paper

7. Aboriginal and Islander

education workers


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.


to the Inquiry


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.