The IEU has been much involved with the creation of the Stage 6 HSC Aboriginal Language syllabus from conception to birth.
State Education Minister Adrian Piccoli announced that Aboriginal Languages would become a new HSC subject late last year.
“There are approximately 35 Aboriginal languages in NSW, with 19 being taught across NSW, and more than 100 dialects. This new course will help maintain this critical part of Aboriginal cultures,” Mr Piccoli said.
The new course is designed to help close the gap between Aboriginal students and non Aboriginal students by encouraging Aboriginal students to gain a HSC.
Schools who embrace the Aboriginal Language syllabus will be taking on a new and exciting way for teachers and students to learn together and create or strengthen partnerships between their schools and their local Aboriginal community. It will enable knowledge holders to provide expertise and guidance to classroom teachers.
The course is unique because it not only comes with the normal syllabus guidelines but will have its own supporting documents to help teachers facilitate the course.
For students it's unique because:
•the Aboriginal Languages Stage 6 Content Endorsed Course will count toward students’ Higher School Certificate (HSC) and appear on their Record of School Achievement (RoSA)
•it will not contribute to their Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR)
•the syllabus can be studied as a one or two unit course and as a preliminary and/or HSC course, and
•there is no external examination for this type of syllabus and assessment is school based.
The IEU’s involvement with the creation of the new Aboriginal Languages HSC endorsed course came about due to the need for the IEU to support Aboriginal education and the teachers who wish to take on Aboriginal courses in the future.
The Union also had a strong belief that Aboriginal students have a right to learn their own languages and culture, and the IEU recognises that our Aboriginal and non Aboriginal teachers play a vital role in facilitating this.
The IEU believes that the new course will aid Aboriginal teachers and students to become the future custodians and caretakers of their languages and empower them to maintain a strong sense of identity as well as help with closing the gap.
For non Aboriginal students and teachers who wish to be part of the course it will provide them with a deeper understanding of the world’s oldest living culture.
Vincent Cooper is the IEU Representative on the Aboriginal Languages Stage 6 HSC committee and the IEU Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander working party.