- 24 Aboriginal languages currently being taught in WA public schools
- Almost 10,000 public school students currently learning an Aboriginal language
- Number of students learning an Aboriginal language has almost doubled since 2020
More public school students than ever before are learning an Aboriginal language and helping to keep Aboriginal cultures and histories alive in Western Australia.
Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery visited East Waikiki Primary School to see the school's Noongar language program in action ahead of NAIDOC Week, which runs from July 3 to 10 this year with the theme of 'Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!'.
There are almost 10,000 WA public school students currently learning one of 24 Aboriginal languages compared to almost 6,000 students in 2020.
Students from Years 3 to 6 are learning Noongar at East Waikiki Primary School, one of 68 public schools in the State teaching an Aboriginal language.
There has been a significant increase in the number of students learning Noongar with more than 5,000 students now learning the language, compared to more than 2,000 in 2020.
The Department of Education is developing digital language teaching resources in Noongar in order to support the increase in the number of schools teaching the language.
To further support the increasing interest in Aboriginal languages, the department is expanding its Aboriginal Languages Teacher Training program, which trains Aboriginal and Islander Education Officers to teach Aboriginal languages in WA schools.
Comments attributed to Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery:
"There is growing interest in Aboriginal languages and cultures in our schools, which will help keep them alive for future generations.
"The Noongar program at East Waikiki Primary School is outstanding. With a dedicated teacher who trained through the Department of Education's Aboriginal Languages Teacher Training program, Noongar is incorporated throughout the entire school, and it was a pleasure to be part of one of their classes.
"The increase in learning in WA schools shows Aboriginal languages are being taught beyond the curriculum requirement, with many schools extending their programs from kindergarten to Year 6 rather than just Years 3 to 6.
"NAIDOC Week, which was celebrated in many schools ahead of the school holidays, is an important time for us all to celebrate and recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and cultures."
Comments attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti:
"Learning and helping to preserve Aboriginal languages is an important part of protecting cultures and knowledge associated with certain areas of land, history and people across WA.
"For the Aboriginal students that already speak the language or are learning it at home, this is an opportunity for them to see and help their classmates engage with their Aboriginal languages and culture at school, which is a great example of reconciliation in action.
"The theme for NAIDOC Week 2022 is 'Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!' and I encourage all Western Australians to take the opportunity to recognise the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people - whether that's by learning a language or getting involved in the activities and events being held across the country."
Education and Training Minister's office - 6552 5700
Aborginal Affairs Minister's office - 6552 6400