It aims to improve attendance by placing more emphasis on First Nations culture and introducing more Aboriginal teachers and advisors to classrooms.
Mikele Syron

22 Oct 2021 - 4:16 PM  UPDATED 22 Oct 2021 - 4:22 PM

A new education strategy in the Northern Territory will focus on integrating a strong sense of culture and boosting the number of Aboriginal educators and cultural advisers in classrooms.

To be implemented over the next three years, the government says the plan will place an emphasis on a collaborative style of two-way learning in the curriculum.

The NT Education Engagement strategy, which is backed by a $10 million action plan, comes after community consultation across held across 21 urban, regional, and remote communities.

The "tailored approach" for Indigenous students will include plans to provide more jobs in schools for local community members, offering more options for secondary education in remote locations, and establishing a regional Aboriginal education advisory group.

Gavin Morris, the Principal of Yipirinya School in Alice Springs, told NITV News that it's "long overdue."

"It's a fantastic strategy," he said. 

"This changes things by putting Aboriginal voices at its centre.

"A concern has been that previously, Aboriginal students' world views, values, and the way they see the world hasn't been reflected in classrooms and curriculums and because of this they've been marginalised."

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Mr Morris said it was also a "critical" step in acknowledging the presence of Indigenous Knowledge Systems alongside western teachings. 

"You've got one education system that's been in Australia for 229 years and another that has been here for 60 thousand years and up until recently, the one that had been here for 229 years was dominating," Mr Morris said.

NT education minister Lauren Moss said the government was focused on lifting attendance rates by supporting better educational outcomes.

“Our approach focuses on strengthening relationships with families and communities, embedding culture and first languages in teaching and learning, building our Aboriginal workforce in schools, and better supporting the wellbeing of our kids," she said.

Mr Morris, who works closely with the NT Department on policy and curriculum development said implementation is now key.

"It needs to be resourced properly and a lot of work has gone into this," he said.

"There are 150 plus schools in the NT and only 41 are in Darwin so you need a strategic plan that reflects that the others are in rural or remote settings."

The consultation process has been criticised by Independent MP Mark Yingiya Guyula, who said the department held invitation-only meetings in a few communities, and more voices need to be heard if the problems plaguing remote education were to be fixed.

"Our children are suffering at the hands of ongoing department incompetence," he said last month.

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