NSW makes its mark at global conference

Innovative programs aimed at engaging our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students were on show at the world’s largest Indigenous education forum.

Image: Sharing knowledge: Aboriginal Outcomes and Partnerships executive director Karen Jones speaks at the World Indigenous Peoples’ Conference on Education last week.

The NSW Department of Education’s work in the revival of Aboriginal languages, community partnerships and a focus on Aboriginal students completing their HSC have all held centre stage at a prestigious global education conference.

The NSW Department of Education’s Aboriginal Outcomes and Partnerships, Connected Communities and Communications and Engagement directorates and the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group presented at the World Indigenous Peoples’ Conference on Education (WIPCE), held on the land of the Kaurna people in Tarndanya (Adelaide) last week.

Aboriginal Outcomes and Partnerships (AOP) executive director Karen Jones said the team was extremely proud to have three papers accepted for presentation at the largest and most diverse Indigenous education forum in the world.

“Being selected to present three papers at such a high-profile event speaks to the impact of the work we are undertaking in NSW and the strength of our approach that places engagement and consultation at the centre of everything we do with our First Nations communities and the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc,” Ms Jones said.

AOP delivered papers on the Aboriginal Language and Culture Nests, the impact of the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Incorporation and DoE Partnership Agreement and the ‘My Future, My Culture, My Way’ campaign.

Menindee Central School, represented the Connected Communities directorate, with executive principal Fiona Kelly, senior leader community engagement Daniel Fusi and teacher Jorden Mose delivering a presentation on the ‘Menindee Way” of engaging students and community.

Connected Communities executive director Michele Hall said Menindee’s team being asked to share their experiences with a global audience was an incredible honour.

Ms Hall said many of the Connected Communities schools sent representatives to the conference and some schools supported their local AECG President (who is also chair of the Local School Reference group) to attend the conference.

“Being able to share our successes and learn from other First Nations educators is an exceptional opportunity to see what practices are effective in helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to reach their full potential,” she said.

Briar Road Public School principal Tammy Anderson also presented at the conference detailing how the school’s pedagogy is built upon the practice of Aboriginal storytelling and outlining the impact this has had on student identity and performance.

An estimated 2300 delegates from more than 90 countries attended the five-day conference.

Ms Jones co-presented with NSW AECG President Catherine Trindall on the renewed Partnership Agreement Walking Together, Working Together 2020-2030.

They showcased its best practice state-wide community engagement processes, genuine partnership initiatives and decision making at all levels of the educational sector and its impact in delivering sustainable and successful outcomes for Aboriginal learners and families across NSW.

Aboriginal Outcomes and Partnerships director Tanya Neal said her team - Glen Cook, Talara Freeman and Rowan Savage – had presented in partnership with Connie Ah See from the NSW AECG on the methods used to revive, teach and celebrate Aboriginal Languages in NSW public schools through the Language and Culture Nest initiative.

The program, which has run since 2013, has seen thousands of students across NSW participate in learning Aboriginal languages under the Nest initiative (not counting students who learn Aboriginal languages in other schools).

“These processes and methodologies will be useful to participants from other countries and other Australian jurisdictions engaged in Indigenous language revival through the education system, in partnership with local Indigenous communities,” Ms Neal said.

Shari Ujdur, from the Communications and Engagement directorate, and AOP Secondary Education Initiatives leader Des Crawford showcased the ‘My Future, My Culture, My Way’ campaign.

The campaign promotes the goal of Aboriginal students attaining their final school qualifications at the same rate as non-Aboriginal students in NSW Australia and is a collaboration between DOE, the NSW AECG, and the NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations.

Mr Crawford said participating in the conference was a great honour.

“To be able to listen, share and learn with our Indigenous brothers and sisters from around the world was a privilege,” he said.

“This was an amazing collection of First Nations people coming together to share their work, personal stories and insights which are making a positive difference academically, culturally, and spiritually for our First Nations students around the world.”

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