GAC has prioritised and is actively contributing to the development of culturally strong, educationally balanced students. Through the Djidbidjidbi Residential College and a growing partnership with the West Arnhem College, Jabiru Area School, GAC is committed to providing students with every opportunity to achieve benchmark education standards and overcome the disturbingly low Northern Territory attendance average for Indigenous children in very remote schools.
International evidence confirms that the major factors contributing to lower-than-average school attendance and ‘performance’ of Indigenous students include:
1. The cultural ‘disconnect’ between the Western model of education and Indigenous knowledge systems and practices
2. Inappropriate curriculum content that lacks relevance or context for students
3.A dissonance between the teaching values and delivery methods of traditional Indigenous communities and the mainstream education system.
GAC is investing in research and development of alternative curricula and delivery, based on international best practice, to improve attendance and educational outcomes for Mirarr children.
To continue this process, GAC has funded (in addition to the Djidbidjidbi Residential College):
1. The development of a more expansive, Indigenous-focussed Australian History
Curriculum by Dr Gary Foley
2. A full-time teaching position at the Jabiru Area School Culture First Program
3. Meals for Culture First Program students attending the Jabiru Area School
4. Multiple interdisciplinary educational programs and products facilitated by Australian
company Community Prophets, including online curriculum resources and international best practice research reporting
5. Ongoing development and delivery of Bininj Gunwok language resources by renowned linguist Dr Murray Garde
6. Alternative literacy and numeracy engagement programs for disengaged older youth.
GAC will continue this commitment to the next generation of Mirarr leaders and is pleased that management and staff at the West Arnhem College continue to share a practical and culturally sensitive commitment to improving the educational prospects of Mirarr and other Bininj (Aboriginal) students.