'Indigenous Education and Training' takes shape 


The Key Educational Forum of the annual Garma Festival this year will focus on “Indigenous Education and Training” and is taking great shape, with a pre-eminent group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous community leaders, government, philanthropic, academic and corporate speakers having accepted invitations to participate.

The Forum (5-7 August), co-ordinated by Charles Darwin University (CDU), will be a central feature of the annual Garma Festival of Traditional Culture, to be held near Nhulunbuy, in the Northern Territory (4-8 August 2006). With its unique five-day line-up of entertainment, education and real cultural interaction, the Garma Festival is a spectacular celebration of cultural traditions and practices, and an award-winning model for insightful cultural tourism.

“CDU is proud and honoured to be a full partner in producing the Garma Key Forum. The University is uniquely positioned to offer expertise and a commitment to support Indigenous knowledge systems, while providing an environment where Indigenous learning opportunities will be continually encouraged and enhanced,” said CDU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Helen Garnett.

“As we debate more and more the challenges facing Indigenous Australians, the need for adequate opportunities and resourcing of Indigenous Education and Training have to be recognised and faced,” said Mandawuy Yunupingu, Deputy Chairman of the Yothu Yindi Foundation, the not-for-profit Indigenous organisation which presents Garma.

“Access to proper education and training lies at the heart of the set of conditions needed to sustainably and fairly correct the current imbalance in well-being and life opportunities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians,” he said.” Much will be learnt from this Forum, and can be put into practice”.

Confirmed speakers for the 2006 Forum include:

Tom Calma, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner

Dr Daniel Etya’ale, Vision 2020 Coordinator, Prevention of Blindness and Deafness Office, World Health Organization

Mitchell H Hooke, Chief Executive, Minerals Council of Australia

Jackie Huggins, Co-Chair, Reconciliation Australia

Professor Marcia Langton, Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies, University of Melbourne

Raymattja Marika, Educator, Board member of Reconciliation Australia

Brian Annan, School Improvement Manager, Ministry of Education, New Zealand

Jeff McMullen, Honorary CEO, Ian Thorpe's Fountain for Youth Trust

Alan Morris, Chairman, Commonwealth Grants Commission

Joe Morrison, Executive Officer, North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance

Professor Fiona Stanley, former Australian of the Year, Director, Telethon Institute for Child Health Research

Te Kepa Stirling, Mätauranga Mäori, Ministry of Education, New Zealand

The program and biographies of main speakers are now on line at http://www.cdu.edu.au/garma/

The Key Forum - with workshops, presentations, panel discussions and learning exchanges - will focus on past and present education policy and practice to examine ways to build non-Indigenous and Indigenous capacities to learn together, celebrating what works and how success can be adapted to other contexts.

It will also pay special attention to work-readiness and on-the-job training programs. Indigenous unemployment rates appear to be intractable, but advances are being made in several industries. The Indigenous art industry and mining are two areas where livelihood and career opportunities are increasing.

This year’s Forum on “Indigenous Education and Training” will discuss such topics as:

  • Given the size of the challenge are we doing enough? – the dollars, problems, paradoxes and solutions in Indigenous Education and Training
  • Are current policies and programs working? Are they accessible?
  • Are they resourced and linked properly? Are governments working together?
  • Have we learnt from mistakes and successes?
  • Learning and earning - pathways to opportunities for meaningful Indigenous livelihoods in remote communities and meeting skill shortage
  • Learning for life – why traditional education and training are important

Past Key Forum themes have included Law, Health, Art, Environment, Livelihoods and Leadership, and, in 2005, Indigenous Cultural Livelihoods.

The Yothu Yindi Foundation is a not-for-profit Aboriginal charitable organisation with full tax exemption and gift deductibility status. All revenues, including Garma attendance fees received by the Foundation go to the operation of its projects and programs, including Garma, to achieve real, positive cultural, educational and economic outcomes.

Go to www.garma.telstra.com 'How to attend Garma', to register your Expression of Interest and for more information on the Yothu Yindi Foundation and Garma.

For more information on the Key Forum, please contact Jackie Wurm, CDU on 0406 648 914 or Simon Balderstone on 0419 732 004 yyf@bigpond.com or 08 8941 2900.

View information about Garma Festival 2006 partners, sponsors and supporter (.pdf).