TAFE Dubbo is mighty proud of its initial batch of students who will graduate after successfully completing the first Aboriginal Language course.
MP Victor Dominello, the New South Wales Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, congratulated the students who graduated. They are the first batch of students that have completed the course at Dubbo TAFE Western’s first Aboriginal Language Culture Nest. The Minister was joined by Troy Grant, the Deputy Premier and Member for Dubbo. This year he became the first person to speak in Wiradjuri in the New South Wales parliament.
Opened only in October 2013, the North West Wiradjuri Nest will award Certificate II in Aboriginal Language to 49 students. The minister said this initiative will bring the aboriginal languages to more people in the future. He also mentioned that there had been a great demand for the course at the Aboriginal Language and Culture Nest in Dubbo.
MP Dominello, who is also the Assistant Minister for Education, stated that a lot of work has been done in the last 12 months to ensure that the aboriginal languages are revitalized and maintained. The Aboriginal Affairs minister is hopeful that subjects in Aboriginal Languages being developed by the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW will be available by 2016.
MP Dominello added that 50 Aboriginal language tutors have been hired to teach the course in various states in Australia and a Deputy Aboriginal Ombudsman had been appointed to see to it that the initiative maintains transparency.
The overwhelming demand is a measure of the success of the initiative. Mr. Dominello said that the government did not pay too much attention to Aboriginal language in Dubbo three years ago. Today, they are quite happy with the way the initiative progresses because they have formed a solid partnership with the community in Dubbo, which includes the teachers and community elders.
Wiradjuri is the traditional language of Australia’s Wiradjuri people. It became extinct in 2009 as a native language. It is being actively revived today through the indigenous language program initiative and is taught in schools today. The government of New South Wales had initiated the mission to revive indigenous languages that are now critically endangered. About 1,900 Aboriginal students have been provided lessons in culture and language in the first year of the government’s mission, which started in Dubbo only last year. Located about 400 kilometers northwest of NSW capital Sydney, Dubbo is now the Wiradjuri language teaching hub. The initiative has expanded to Lismore, Coffs Harbour, Wilcannia and Lightning Ridge.
In Dubbo alone there are more than 2,600 Aboriginal students that have access to the new
North West Wiradjuri Nest. Five students have already finished their TAFE certifications, according to MP Troy Grant.
Diane Riley-McNaboe, a Wiradjuri native speaker and language teacher said in an interview that she was happy to see the government’s willingness to support indigenous languages and notice that there is value in Aboriginal culture. It was the first time that this happened, according to her.