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Literacy poor for NSW indigenous students

Wed August 8, 2012 1:01pm

ABOUT half the young Aboriginal students in NSW are below the minimum reading standard, a figure that has not improved in the past decade, a report says.

The report, Improving the literacy of Aboriginal students in NSW public schools, was prepared by NSW Auditor General Peter Achterstraat, who has called on the state government to develop programs to increase literacy rates in Aboriginal students.

Mr Achterstraat warned the government its goal of halving the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous students by 2018 was unachievable unless it took a new approach.

The report found that by year three, 40 per cent of Aboriginal students were at or below the minimum reading standard.

By year five, that figure had climbed to 50 per cent.

"Schools need tailored programs suited to their circumstances," Mr Achterstraat said.

Several schools had developed programs which eliminated the literacy gap and he said those initiatives could be adopted across the state.

"You can take the programs that are working well in some schools and modify them and apply them," he told AAP.

"We've got to look at what are the good things happening at those schools and apply them to the other schools."

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