Prime Minister Julia Gillard has officially opened the $30 million Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Education (ACIKE) at Charles Darwin University in Darwin today.
Supported by the Australian Government, the collaborative venture between CDU and the Batchelor Institute for Indigenous Tertiary Education focuses on Indigenous higher education needs and is the largest building of its type in an Australian university.
CDU Vice-Chancellor Professor Barney Glover said ACIKE was a much needed addition to Indigenous education nationally and was committed to diversifying and broadening access to higher education.
“The Centre aims to increase the capacity of CDU and Batchelor Institute to facilitate positive outcomes in Indigenous communities and the Higher Education sector in areas relating to Indigenous knowledges and education,” Professor Glover said.
“Teaching and research at ACIKE will be multi-disciplinary and include fields of Indigenous knowledges and other general disciplines such as nursing, education and arts at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.”
Professor Glover said the Centre would expand Indigenous education significantly in the NT, including delivering interactive learning with connections to urban, regional and remote communities.
The building incorporates state-of-the-art, IT enabled literacy laboratories, shared teaching and Indigenous support and advisory spaces, a gallery showcasing Indigenous artworks, and office spaces for the co-location of Indigenous research groups, academics and teaching staff.
Batchelor Institute Director Adrian Mitchell said ACIKE would increase Indigenous participation in higher education, policy, employment, wealth generation and business development.
“Through the ACIKE partnership, Batchelor Institute is bringing together the old and the new, using cutting-edge technology to deliver learning in 40,000 years of ancient culture at our campuses in Casuarina, Batchelor and the Desert Peoples Centre in Alice Spring,” Mr Mitchell said.
“ACIKE provides the ideal platform to provide skills and expertise to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in an appropriate environment, skills that will support business ventures built around traditional knowledges to be successful and most importantly, ensure that benefits stay with the people they belong to.”
The Commonwealth awarded CDU $30.65 million under the Education Investment Fund.