Ballerrt Mooroop College, Melbourne’s only remaining school exclusively for Aboriginal students, is under attack. Large parts of the school were scheduled for demolition in December but a series of protests has so far delayed the State Government’s plan.
The school itself has been in operation since 1996 catering for Indigenous students misplaced by mainstream education. Originally the school was designed for students in years Prep to 12 but deliberate government funding cuts has forced the school into a position where it can only cater for students from years 7 to 10.
By Corey Snoek, Socialist Party Melbourne
As it stands Indigenous youth are 14 times more likely to be imprisoned than their non-Indigenous counterparts. And while 76% of non-Indigenous students will complete year 12 only 38% of Indigenous students will achieve the same level of education.
It is vital that Indigenous students in Melbourne are given the option of cultural and community based learning. Disappointingly is seems that both the previous Labor Government, and the current Liberal Government, are hell bent on destroying the school and trying to bring about assimilation by force.
Plans are afoot to build the new Glenroy Special School on the site. The Government wants to build over sections of parkland and on the Ballerrt Mooroop grounds, demolishing their gym and destroying the cultural grounds in the process. The reality is that there is no reason why two disadvantaged sections of society need to be pitted against each other.
The community has suggested building the Glenroy Special School on an alternative site. There are many viable alternatives. For example the State Government could easily build the new Special School on land they already own which is being vacated by Glenroy Primary School. Instead the State Government is trying to shut down this school and force the students into ‘mainstream’ education.
The truth is that Ballerrt Mooroop College is under attack because the Government is pushing ahead with a cost cutting plan to merge a number of smaller schools. Further, they are also making a significant attack against Aboriginal self-determination in Victoria.
The Socialist Party supports the community campaign to save Ballerrt Mooroop College. At the same time we call for an expansion of the public school system. Education should be seen as a right and not a privilege. The only way to ensure real equality is to provide free education to all regardless of their ability to pay.