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The Indigenous-led program rethinking education

30 March 2022 at 4:24 pm
Maggie Coggan
A new program is supporting Indigenous-led education projects from early childhood through to high school and pathways into tertiary study 

Maggie Coggan | 30 March 2022 at 4:24 pm


The Indigenous-led program rethinking education
30 March 2022 at 4:24 pm

A new program is supporting Indigenous-led education projects from early childhood through to high school and pathways into tertiary study 

A program centering First Nations languages, cultural connection, experiences and history is launching, in a move organisers say will help address systemic issues standing in the way of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students’ success. 

Supported by the Paul Ramsay Foundation, the Learning Lives, Strengthened in Culture program brings together six Indigenous-led organisations which are each working to ensure 

 more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children grow strong in their culture and reach their academic potential.

The organisations include the Aurora Education Foundation, Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation (BMNAC), Culturally Nourishing Schools Project, Gujaga Foundation, the National Indigenous Youth Education Coalition, and the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group. 

The organisations will be funded to develop and run projects all the way from early childhood through to high school and into tertiary study, both inside and outside the traditional school setting.   

One of the projects being funded is the Gujaga Foundation’s Dharawal Language Program in childcare centres and schools in Eastern, Southern, Southwest and the Inner West of Sydney.

Ray Ingrey, a Dharawal person and chairperson of the Gujaga Foundation, said early connection to language and culture was key for positive development. 

“We know that when our young ones grow up with a solid cultural foundation, they become strong with who they are and where they belong. It will put them on the right path in achieving any goal they set in the future,” Ingrey said.

This approach is also central to the work of the BMNAC, which is in the process of opening New South Wales’ first bilingual Aboriginal language school – the Gumbaynggirr Giingana Freedom School.

Clark Webb, a Gumbaynggirr man and the founder of BMNAC, said that the program would assist BMNAC in accelerating their vision to enrich the learning experience through Gumbaynggirr worldview, language and pedagogy.

“The Gumbaynggirr Giingana school is an expansion of the work we have been doing in our community for the past decade,” Webb said. 

“I’m incredibly excited as we realise this dream and grateful for the support of our community, partner organisations and sponsors who have chosen to walk this journey with us.”

Professor Glyn Davis AC, the CEO of the Paul Ramsay Foundation, said that bringing so many different organisations together towards a common goal would mean greater impact in the long term. 

“The program has been designed with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander partners to support Indigenous cultures, knowledge and ways of learning,” Davis said. 

“Each of the program partners is unique in their project approach, coming together as a collective to learn with each other and with us. As a group, we are united in our long-term ambition for change, with a common belief that growing strong in culture and being excellent academically are mutually reinforcing.”

Find out more about the project and the partner organisations here.

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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