Dubbo Language and Culture Nest encouraging students to pursue higher education

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Victor Dominello today announced that 49 students had completed Certificate II Aboriginal Language qualifications at TAFE Western since the first NSW Aboriginal Language and Culture Nest opened in Dubbo in October 2013.

Mr Dominello joined Member for Dubbo Troy Grant to mark the first anniversary of the North West Wiradjuri Nest at TAFE Western’s Yarradamarra Aboriginal Unit, where they participated in a demonstration language lesson with local students. OCHRE More information about this OCHRE initiative can be found at www.aboriginalaffairs.nsw.gov.au/aboriginal-language-and-culture-nests

The Nests represent a partnership between Aboriginal communities, schools, TAFEs, and universities to connect language resources. They aim to strengthen pride in identity and culture among students so they stay engaged in education and complete school. "The NSW Government is building pathways which provide incentives for Aboriginal students to learn traditional language and culture from cradle to grave – helping to revitalise and preserve its teaching for future generations."

Key achievements include: 

The first Aboriginal Language Stage 6 Content Endorsed Course to be developed by the Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) – due to commence in 2016, for the first time it will allow NSW students to study Aboriginal language in Years 11 and 12, strengthening the pathway to tertiary qualifications; 

Aboriginal language and culture lessons being taught to over 1,900 Aboriginal students in 45 schools across the five Nests; 

  • 50 Aboriginal language tutors with Certificate II or Certificate III qualifications engaged in teaching across the Nests; 
  • Revised K-to-10 Scope and Sequence being implemented across Nest schools to ensure rigour and consistency in the way the curriculum is taught; 
  • The appointment of four teachers to coordinate and oversee the allocation of teaching resources within Nest schools; and 
  • A pay increase from $21 up to $35 per hour for Aboriginal Language and Culture Tutors, under a recent Department of Education and Communities pay determination.

Mr Grant, the first MP to give a speech to the NSW Parliament in traditional language, said the overwhelming goodwill shown by the community towards the Nest concept had led to early positive results on the ground.

"Today we have more than 2,600 Aboriginal students from 22 schools, both primary and secondary, across the region with access to traditional language tutoring," Mr Grant said.

"There are now 13 North West Wiradjuri language tutors engaged in the Nest and five students have completed their Certificate III Aboriginal Language qualification at TAFE Western over the last year.

"Many Aboriginal languages still remain at risk, so it’s very early days but I am pleased to see the Nest based in Dubbo leading the way. With the determination and passion of the local Aboriginal language community, I am confident we can continue on this trajectory."

NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc. (AECG) President Cindy Berwick said the development of the BOSTES Stage 6 Content Endorsed Course was, "a significant milestone on our language journey to ensure Aboriginal languages and cultures are embedded throughout our school system."

The North West Wiradjuri Language and Culture Nest region includes Gilgandra, Wellington, Peak Hill, Dubbo, Trangie and Narromine.

There are four other Nests based in Lismore (Bundjalung), Coffs Harbour (Gumbaynggirr), Wilcannia (Paakantji/Barkintji) and Lightning Ridge (Gamilaraay/Yuwaalaraay/Yuwaalayaay).

Aboriginal community leaders, the AECG, Aboriginal Education and Community Engagement, Aboriginal Affairs NSW and BOSTES are all engaged in the development of teaching resources within the Nests.

More information about this OCHRE initiative can be found at www.aboriginalaffairs.nsw.gov.au/aboriginal-language-and-culture-nests