An Aboriginal Australian Education

Publié le par hort

An Aboriginal Australian Education

The Australian
Stuart Rintoul

December 08, 2008 

INDIGENOUS children are not receiving an education that enhances and promotes their Aboriginality, according to one of the nation's first indigenous school principals.

In a keynote speech at the opening of an international indigenous education conference in Melbourne, Colin Bourke said Aboriginal children needed to be educated "as Aborigines as well as Australians" ..
Otherwise, Professor Bourke said, Aboriginal Australia would become just a memory, with Aboriginal people totally absorbed into the mainstream. He said the educational achievements of Aborigines and non-Aborigines should not be compared, because whites generally designed school curriculums.

An adjunct professor and council member at Monash University, Professor Bourke retired from the University of South Australia in 1998 as deputy vice-chancellor, after serving several years as dean of the faculty of Aboriginal and Islander studies. He was the first Aboriginal primary school principal in Victoria, in 1971.

Professor Bourke said that in traditional times, Aboriginal children were educated in the equivalent of geography, history, literature, astronomy and law, giving them an "intellectual awareness, giving the individual a world view - an Aboriginal world view". "Today, Aboriginal children and adults are being educated within a ... middle-class education system," he said. "Australian schools and universities and other educational institutions do not educate Aboriginal students within a contemporary Aboriginal context. Nor do they display an understanding of our cultural heritage.

"Aboriginal people need to be educated as Aborigines, as well as Australians, to become biculturally urbane. The educational achievements of Aborigines and non-Aborigines should not be compared, because non-Aborigines generally design the school curriculum. Therefore, it is obvious that the needs and aspirations of Aborigines are not the prime consideration. "Today, Aboriginal people are not receiving an education that enhances and promotes their Aboriginality. "

Professor Burke was the first day's keynote speaker at the World Indigenous Peoples Conference: Education, a five-day triennial conference involving 3000 indigenous people from 23 countries with a focus on world indigenous education.

"Since the European invasion, the indigenous people of this country have been subjected to many government policies," he said. "All have been implemented without meaningful indigenous consultation.
"The study of government policies shows the indigenous people of this land have not been in control of their own destinies, or education since the invasion.

"I believe it is necessary for Aborigines to know who they are within their own cultural framework. We must always be proud of our unique heritage. Education should underpin and develop that pride." He said unless Aboriginal traditional values were reinforced, "Aboriginal Australia will become a memory, we will be totally absorbed into mainstream Australia".

He said traditional Aboriginal philosophy, spirituality, languages, history, ecology, psychic phenomena, medicine, arts and social organisation were all worthy of serious study. Instead, education was based on the needs and values of an acquisitive and materialistic Australia.

Publié dans African diaspora

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