Attending the Scrub Hill Indigenous Education Forum are Sandy Strait State School principal Shane Urquhart, Fraser Coast councillor David Dalgleish, Paul Herschell and Will Davis of Qld Studies Authority with Butchulla elder Frances Gala and Butchulla community linguist Joyce Bonner.
Attending the Scrub Hill Indigenous Education Forum are Sandy Strait State School principal Shane Urquhart, Fraser Coast councillor David Dalgleish, Paul Herschell and Will Davis of Qld Studies Authority with Butchulla elder Frances Gala and Butchulla community linguist Joyce Bonner. Daniel Tweed

Butchulla may be taught in schools

HERVEY Bay is poised to pioneer an indigenous education revolution.

A senior officer from the Queensland Studies Authority was told yesterday that the Fraser Coast is ready to trial a ground-breaking new school syllabus which could place the Butchulla language alongside Chinese, Indonesian, German and French as classroom subjects.

Paul Herschell, acting deputy director of the QSA’s teaching and learning division, met with Butchulla elders and education leaders at the Korrawinga Aboriginal Centre in Hervey Bay to present a statewide proposal to formalise the education of indigenous languages.

“Syllabuses can maintain communities by reviving and revitalising their languages,” Mr Herschell said.

“The question is how do we develop a curriculum that embeds itself into the community?”

Mr Herschell was shown DVDs, booklets and dictionaries by Butchulla elders as examples of the inroads already being made on the Fraser Coast.

He was told about the Fraser Coast Chronicle’s award-winning Butchulla series which introduced the language to classrooms throughout the region and the unbridled pride felt by indigenous community leaders.

He was also informed about an innovative course in indigenous studies on offer to students at the Fraser Coast campus of USQ.

“This is the best place to trial it,” councillor David Dalgleish said.

“The whole community has embraced it.”

QSA is aiming to develop two syllabuses through to Year 12. A draft syllabus is expected by the end of June, with a trial period in the schools in the second half of 2010.

Implementation of the junior syllabus up to Year 10 is planned for schools in 2011, with the senior syllabus coming on stream the following year.

“It’s going to be a job,” Butchulla elder Aunty Frances Gala predicted.

“The idea of bringing the language into the schools is wonderful.”

School representatives at yesterday’s meeting highlighted the need for permanent jobs to be created by the project.

“The only way it can be successful is to have people from the indigenous community in the schools,” said Julie Learoyd, principal at Hervey Bay State High School.

“Would it mean permanent employment for people in the schools? I wouldn’t like to see it done on a volunteer basis. It needs to be a paid position.”

This view was endorsed by Simon Boss-Walker, principal of Pialba State School.

“It’s a fairly large program to deliver. Have we the people on the ground to deliver it?

“If it is taught as a language other than English, it’s the best way to go.”



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