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Garma 2006 key forum report: Indigenous education and training

6 Mar 2007

Held on traditional Yolngu grounds at Gulkula, the bush setting of the Key Forum helps to foster a sense of co-operation between and Yolngu and Ngapaki, and provides a unique opportunity for different people to come together and discuss contemporary Indigenous issues. The theme of this year’s forum was "Indigenous Education and Training", and a host of local, national and international speakers were invited to reflect on their experiences and propose ideas for future action. In their own language, the Yolngu leaders asked speakers to "look back, look forward and reflect".

The call for a focus on early childhood was a new message that emerged at the forum, and the need for more training for Indigenous teachers was an old message that was appropriately reinforced. Raymattja Marika’s bold affirmation of “both ways education” made it clear that the Yolngu want bilingual and bicultural programs to be revived with a curriculum that makes the content meaningful. Further, the call to establish schools with real community engagement in Northern Australia for the growing number of young Indigenous children is a message that deserves to be taken seriously if we are all going to meet the challenges of the future.

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