East Waikiki Primary School one of several WA public schools learning Aboriginal language

PIC: File

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 6000 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 5000 students now learning the language, compared to more than 2000 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.

“There is growing interest in Aboriginal languages and cultures in our schools, which will help keep them alive for future generations," Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery said.

“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.”

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