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The MK Turner Report is a landmark report, created by the cultural authority of Utyerre Apanpe network and Children’s Ground. It establishes a plan for a First Nations-led and designed education reform in Australia, privileging an approach entitled Apmerengentyele, the Arrernte concept of ‘world view.’
Apmerengentyele is a sophisticated system of knowledge and practice that underpins an Arrernte person’s world view – (Arrernte is a First Nations language group of Central Australia. While each First Nation has its own language and culture for their own system of knowledge and practice, each one shares knowledge, ways of knowing, values, and a common practice.
In this series, we are exploring the recommendations of the MK Turner Report to consider how they can be implemented. The Report’s fourth recommendation is to establish a comprehensive national network of First Nations Language and Literacy Centres for every Nation/language group.
Language and Literacy Centres will be a comprehensive national network of hubs for every First Nations community/language group wishing to maintain, strengthen and revitalise their languages. They will have national guidelines but remain a locally governed resource. These centres will support the new Apmerengentyele education system and mainstream education system by maintaining local Indigenous languages and creating learning resources.
“I must teach in a way that keeps the knowledge alive, and makes the students feel that once I have shared my knowledge with them, then they are in a way obligated to me, that we have responsibilities together, which come from the knowledge we have shared together.” Dr Marika-Mununggiritj, 1991
These Centres will:
Today, around 100 First Nations languages are considered at ‘severe risk’ or ‘critically endangered’. They are primarily spoken by older generations and are at risk as Elders pass away. The Language and Literacy Centres stop these languages from disappearing.
These Centres will also provide a critical resource to the Australian education system and beyond seeking to engage with First Nations systems of knowledge.
As a result of establishing this network of Centres, there will be high-quality learning resources and standards consistent with leading international evidence, setting the standards of excellence for First Nations students.
The number and quality of first languages spoken across generations will increase, as will the awareness, resourcing and sharing of First Nations knowledge across the Australian government, business, and public arenas.