In the true spirit of education: securing the future for Indigenous children in Australia
Monash University 50th anniversary public lecture
The Faculty of Education offered a profound insight into the educational issues facing Australia’s Indigenous community during a public lecture at BMW The Edge Theatre, Federation Square, on Thursday March 27 2008.
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Mr Henry Aitkinson
Dr Zane Ma Rhea
The lecture, titled In the true spirit of education: securing the future for Indigenous children in Australia, was delivered by Mr Henry Atkinson and Dr Zane Ma Rhea to an audience of over 180 people, including Monash University’s new Chancellor, Dr Alan Finkel.
Reflecting on a history that all too often undermined education for Indigenous children, Mr Atkinson stressed the importance of learning opportunities and their role in creating long-term, positive change to the lives of Indigenous Australia.
“My school days (were) not happy ones – segregation, physical punishment dealt out to my siblings and cousins” he said. “I look forward to the day when all our prospective educators must go through the unit for Indigenous awareness, making for holistic classrooms for the betterment of all students, Australia-wide.”
At the same time, Dr Ma Rhea showcased some of the policy initiatives that can and have brought about effective change.
“Education is the key to creating the Aboriginal leaders, teachers, professionals and self-sufficient individuals of the future. It is capable of expanding opportunities for full social, political and economic participation” Dr Ma Rhea told the audience. “I would like to see formalised what some communities and families are already doing by proposing a radical partnership plan whereby Indigenous communities and families would approach high performing state and independent schools and work with them to find the right ‘fit’”
The event was capped off with a captivating performance by Wolithiga Clan dancers, and was the second in of a series of public lectures to be held in celebration of Monash University’s 50th Anniversary in 2008.
Wolithiga Clan dancers