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New Indigenous-led program takes the reins on rethinking education

[by Marguerite Barbara]


First day of school with Clarke Webb. Image: Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation.

A new and innovative partnership program to elevate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice, leadership and agency in education to improve outcomes for students was announced recently.


Learning Lives, Strengthened in Culture is a program across six Indigenous-led partner organisations: Aurora Education Foundation, Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation, Culturally Nourishing Schools Project (at UNSW), Gujaga Foundation, the National Indigenous Youth Education Coalition, and the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group.


The program, supported by the Paul Ramsay Foundation, embraces Indigenous-led education practices in a dynamic approach to address systemic issues that prevent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students’ success.


While each project under the partnership program brings its unique focus, they are all centered around the same ethos: enabling more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to grow strong in their culture and reach their academic potential.


Professor Glyn Davis AC, Chief Executive Officer of the Paul Ramsay Foundation, said the program was a vital step in the Foundation’s commitment to improving education outcomes.


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


Taking a holistic approach, the program aims to support Indigenous-led education projects from early childhood through to high school and pathways into tertiary study, within and beyond the school gate, with funding across program partners.


The Learning Lives Strengthened in Culture program is the first complementary set of partnerships in Indigenous education by the Paul Ramsay Foundation, delivering significant multi-year support to program partners.


The design and development of the funding program was based on scoping work which involved reviewing the existing evidence base as well as conducting over 30 interviews with key stakeholders.


Program evaluation will help to identify and refine a theory of change for long term impact to enhance education outcomes, identifying opportunities to share lessons and contribute to long term change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.


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