Dusseldorp Forum supported Nawarddeken Academy with an opportunity grant of $25,000 in 2016 towards the engagement of a consultant to manage the Independent School Registration Process for the Academy. In 2017 the relationship developed into a $100,000 partnership to support the ongoing operational costs of the school.
Nawarddeken Academy is owned and guided by the people of the Stone Country, Arnhem Land. Children learn in their traditional languages alongside English and curriculum is developed in partnership with community elders, helping to sustain one of the world’s oldest continuing cultures.
The community supports a strong tradition of passing knowledge between generations, but it is so remote, and the population so small, that it does not qualify to receive government-sponsored resources for children’s education.
To attend school, children must move to far-away towns causing families to be separated for extended periods. Alternately, parents must leave their employment as rangers and move their families to live near a school – to towns which have very limited employment opportunities for parents.
Warddeken Land Management and the community of Kabulwarnamyo, together with a group of passionate volunteers, established this school like no other in the country. Children are taught to be strong in both cultures through accessing the latest technology and actively engaging in scientific enquiry in ways that are meaningful to their lives.
The Nawarddeken Academy has been operating since August 2015 and has 12 children who attend regularly. Students have moved up an average of five reading levels after six months at the Academy. Teachers at similar remote Indigenous schools reported that this level of progress generally takes 12-18 months.
An average school day begins with literacy, numeracy, science and art in the mornings, consistent with the national curriculum. After lunch, the students pack the school Toyota troop carrier and head out for ‘learning on country’ during which the community plays a vital role by delivering the bilingual and cultural component of the Academy’s curriculum.
Find out more about Nawarddeken Academy.
Out here is where children can grow and learn. As time goes on, this is the real place where Aboriginal and Balanda people will be able to combine the two cultures.