Discuss if and how the area of education can contribute to achieve relationships between Indigenous and non- Indigenous Australians. Education is among the most important factors in achieving relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Through the incorporation of Indigenous Education in all schools, Australian children will have every opportunity to learn and understand Aboriginal issues and history, which will help eliminate naïve and stereotypical perceptions of Aboriginal Australians in the future. For relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to become a true reality a quality Aboriginal Education curriculum must be developed within Australian schools through the National Curriculum that is to be implemented in 2012. Such a curriculum must promote reconciliation, which would mean giving all students the opportunity to develope and sustain relationships between Indigenous and non Australians on a mutual and respectful basis (Reconciliation Australia, 2005-2011). Through quality education, relationships can one day be achieved, with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians working together cooperatively, to bridge the social and financial gaps that exist between the two. Education is paramount to this and will help to serve the best interest for all Australians. To be successful in building relationships, it is important for all to gain knowledge and understanding of the history of Indigenous Australians and their culture. Racism and misrepresentations are often bred by ignorance, yet with the right education, such attitudes can indeed be altered. For a quality curriculum to be successfully delivered in Australian schools, tertiary institutions must continue to focus on the education of future teachers in the field of Aboriginal Education.
Mick Dodson stated that: ‘If like me, you believe education is the principle pathway to reconciliation, you need to act on that belief’ (Dodson, Reconciliation Australia, 2005-2011), meaning that education is the most important means of achieving relationships amongst Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Therefore, it is crucial to include Aboriginal Education in all Australian schools, as it is such a significant part of Australia’s history as well as its present (Hunter & Schwab, Practical reconciliation and recent trends in Indigenous education, 2004). Many non-Indigenous people’s perceptions of Indigenous Australians are somewhat negative due to the fact that they have never truly been educated about Aboriginal history, issues and affairs. Such attitudes, which are generally bred from ignorance rather than experience, are able to be changed through education. If all children are educated about Aboriginal history and culture, they will grow up with positive perceptions of Indigenous Australians that they will be able to pass on to future generations. However, for relationships to become a reality there needs to be some substantial evidence of agreement in the area of education between Indigenous and non Indigenous Australians (Hunter & Schwab, 2004). This can be achieved through the National Curriculum, which is to be implemented throughout Australian schools in 2012, where Aboriginal perspectives will hopefully make up a significant part. The Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority has acknowledged the importance of relationships and is currently writing Indigenous perspectives into the national curriculum ‘to make sure that all Australians have the chance to learn about, understand and respect the history and culture of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders’ (Greenfield & Harrison, Relationship To Place).
It is of critical importance that Indigenous Australians continue to be involved in the development of an Aboriginal Education curriculum. Since 1982, Indigenous Australians have been active in the development of the NSW Department of Education Aboriginal Education Policy. The rationale for...
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