The Northern Territory Government is amidst discussions around their education system and the inclusion of Arrernte language in the curriculum.
In Alice Springs, a series of language courses have been running out of a tin shed in the heart of the community in a bid to spread knowledge about local language and celebrate its significance in the culture of the area.
The program A Place for Language was initially started due to concern that the language wasn’t being spoken widely enough in the area.
The program’s founder Lorrayne Gorey urges it’s importance:
“Without your language, you are nobody; that’s your identity, your language… It’s really good for people to come and learn, especially the non-Aboriginal people, but I’d like to see our kids come in… every day, all day, they speak English to each other… It’s not really hard; if I’ve learned how to speak English, why don’t you learn how to speak Arrernte, too?”
Unfortunately the program only runs on a temporary basis, and without Government support the likelihood of programs such as A Place For Language having a lasting effect are low. Hence the discussion has arisen of having Arrernte taught in schools as a part of the official curriculum.
Integrating culture, pride for the language and increasing communication throughout the community are all things which would come out of having these changes made.
And this could just be the beginning, should the NT follow through with the proposed changes, we could see other states following suit. It’s being done in Denmark, The United States, Canada and New Zealand… now it could be Australia’s turn.