NSW Schools Curriculum to Include Aboriginal Languages

On Monday 17th October, the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Education and Early Learning, released a statement announcing the official move to include Aboriginal languages into the NSW school syllabus.

NSW Students from years K-10 will be able to learn the Aboriginal language local to them under the new curriculum, with different streams available for students who already speak the local language or dialect.

The two streams will comprise the Language Revival pathway for students with no prior knowledge of Aboriginal languages, and a second stream, the First Language pathway for students who use language at home and in their community.

The announcement marks the first time the NSW Curriculum will aim to foster appropriate learning pathways for students already speaking Aboriginal languages.

Monday’s release stated, “The syllabus was developed following extensive consultation with Aboriginal communities and education stakeholders”.

“The syllabus includes guidance on how to involve Aboriginal communities when introducing and teaching the syllabus in schools, which research shows is vital to the sustainability of Aboriginal Languages programs.”

The new curriculum will be officially taught in 2024, allowing teachers the duration of 2023 to plan and get up to speed with the updated syllabus.

Some primary schools and pre-schools in Sydney are already running pilot programs in Dharug language, led by local traditional owners.

Year 11 and 12 students are expected to have Aboriginal languages in the curriculum by 2025.

For more information, visit the NSW Curriculum reform.

Image: Clark Webb, Executive Officer of Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation (BMNAC), with students.

Captured at the Gumbaynggirr Giingana Freedom School (GGFS) opening day, 2022. Image taken and supplied by BMNAC.