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Federal Minister Pyne Visits NPA College

Warren Ensch and Christopher Pyne talk to Students

​The Federal Minister for Education Mr Christopher Pyne made a flying visit to the Northern Peninsula Region together with Local Member of Parliament Mr Warren Ensch on Thursday 6 February.  The visit had been arranged by Mr Ensch to fulfil a promise to the Education Council Chairman Mr Jeffrey Aniba to visit the area and take a look at the College and TAFE.

Only in the area for a few hours Mr Pyne and Mr Ensch were first treated to a welcome address, meeting, and light lunch at the TAFE, hosted by the Mayor, Mr Bernard Charlie, Deputy Mayor Mr Eddie Newman, Chairman of the Nurpai Ikama Ikya Education Council Mr Jeffrey Aniba,  College Principal Mr Gordon Herberston, and a range of representatives from organisations in the community. The meeting began with prayers from Rev Mary Eseli and the welcome to country was given by Traditional Owner, Mr Meun Lifu.

Following a statement of the historical context of education in the NPA by Mr Aniba, a quick description was given of the current situation and success of the College by Mr Herbertson. The  improvements of the past five years in terms of student outcomes was highlighted and credit given to Mr Ken Maclean, the principal over that time for leading those developments.

Mr Pyne addressed the meeting and expressed his delight at being in the region even for so short a time. In his speech Mr Pyne identified the four pillars of the current government’s educational policy and said he was pleased to note that the comments made by the previous speakers were in accord with those policies. The pillars are, school or college autonomy of governance, in a model that reflects the local needs, utilising quality teachers, and engendering parental involvement in the educational process. The meeting concluded with a welcome from local youth representative Amber Phineasa, and Mr Warren Ensch.

Following a light lunch Mr Pyne and the visitors were conducted on a tour to the college senior campus, the Injinoo Junior campus and the Bamaga Junior campus, taking the time to visit classrooms and speak to students as they moved around the schools.

Head of Campus at the Bamaga Junior school, Mrs Yolanda Coutts commented that “The Minister’s visit went really well and as we toured with him Mr Herbertson, Mr Hollis and I had a few minutes to chat with him about the great work the teachers are all doing in the classroom. Mr Pyne was very impressed by the College and the Communities.  He also got the message about Explicit Instruction.  Luckily he is a big fan of John Fleming and was pleased to hear the repeated references to Explicit Teaching, as well as seeing it in the classrooms.”

On Friday following the visit Mr Herbertson received a phone call from Mr John Paul Langbroek, State Minister for Education  to congratulate the College on the positive visit by the Federal Minister for Education Christopher Pyne. Mr Langbroek asked Mr Herbertson to particularly thank all the staff and students for making the Minister feel welcome and promised he would do his best to visit the College in the future.