Language Curiculumn

Andre Cramblit andrekar at NCIDC.ORG
Thu Aug 5 21:07:00 UTC 2004

Aboriginal languages for curriculum


ABORIGINAL language studies will become a major part of the school
curriculum in an Australian first that takes indigenous education to a
new level across New South Wales.

The formal lessons in Aboriginal languages will be driven by demand from
local communities, but it is hoped thousands of non-indigenous students
will support the program.

NSW Education Minister Andrew Refshauge today will launch a new syllabus
for mandatory and elective courses in Aboriginal languages for students
from Kindergarten to Year 10.

Students in Government and independent schools will be able to study an
Aboriginal language subject in primary school, for their School
Certificate and for the HSC.

Initiatives to teach and revive the state's 70 indigenous languages will
be spearheaded by specialists who will help teachers in the classroom.

Under the new policy:

* A KINDERGARTEN to Year 10 syllabus will be introduced from 2005,
enabling any student in the state to study an Aboriginal language;

* MORE than $1 million already has been spent establishing an Aboriginal
Languages Research and Resource Centre providing technical support to
indigenous communities;

* AN Aboriginal languages database will become available to schools and
communities from 2005; and

* NEW guidelines will help Aboriginal communities trying to revive or
teach their local language

Education sources indicated yesterday that primary schools could spend
at least half an hour a week on Aboriginal language lessons.

At Darlington Public School, children already are learning how to count,
sing and identify body parts in the Wiradjuri language. Teachers said
reaction had been positive, but they were careful not to "tread on the
toes" of community members who were not supportive.

Primary principal Cheryl McBride said the syllabus would give Aboriginal
pupils a sense of pride and recognition.

Opposition spokeswoman Jillian Skinner also supported the plan, as long
as core subjects were not neglected.

It is understood about 80 schools have applied for resources to run the
programs; about 25 are being funded.

Dr Refshauge said learning a language helped improve comprehension and

© The Australian

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