The Northern Territory’s leaders in Indigenous education are joining forces to create the $30.7 million Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Education.
The Batchelor Institute for Indigenous Tertiary Education (BIITE) and Charles Darwin University received the funding in last night’s Federal Budget.
CDU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Barney Glover said he was delighted with the Budget announcement which would significantly augment Indigenous education in the Northern Territory.
The centre will be co-managed and run by CDU and BIITE staff, and construction of a new building is scheduled to begin in late 2009.
The project will include the construction of a multi-purpose facility on CDU’s Casuarina campus, which will house instructional, research, teaching and computer facilities.
“The centre will expand the capacity of CDU and BIITE to deliver positive outcomes to Indigenous communities and the Higher Education sector in areas relating to Indigenous knowledge and education,” Professor Glover said.
“CDU and BIITE individually focus on the needs of Indigenous Australians to an extent unsurpassed in the Australian Higher Education sector,” he said.
Batchelor Institute’s Acting Vice-Chancellor, Dr Tony Mordini echoed Professor’s Glover’s comments, adding that “the funding will help strengthen the capacity of both institutions to meet the current and emerging training and professional development needs of Indigenous people, particularly the urban Indigenous population in the Darwin region”.
For CDU almost 5 per cent of Higher Education students, 7 per cent of staff and 40 per cent of Vocational Education and Training students identify as Indigenous. For BIITE, the student body is exclusively Indigenous.
“Indigenous centres are intrinsic to successful Indigenous leadership and education strategies in universities,” Professor Glover said.
He also noted that the needs of Indigenous Australians nationally, but especially in the Northern Territory, would continue to grow.
“The establishment of the Centre provides a vehicle for meaningful collaboration between CDU and BIITE. The outcome will not only deliver positive outcomes in the Northern Territory, but also nationally.
“This joint venture between the two leading Indigenous tertiary education providers in Northern Australia will deliver opportunities to reconsider how topics on Indigenous knowledge are developed, packaged and delivered.”
Dr Mordini said: “This significant investment in our educational infrastructure will make a substantial contribution to closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage and make a significant contribution to the development of the intellectual and social capital of Indigenous Australians.”
He welcomed the Government’s investment in the project and said he looked forward to working with Professor Glover and CDU on the initiative.