10 August 2018
Supporting Groote children to go to school

The Anindilyakwa people have plans to establish a boarding school in the Groote archipelago to combat poor school attendance. 

VIDEO LINK: Groote College Anims Lo 2

“WE ABORIGINAL people can’t go back in time,” was the word from ALC chair Tony  Wurramarrba, when he opened a community meeting on June 25 to further discuss establishing a remote primary boarding school in the Groote archipelago.

He told the meeting: “Today we are taking an historical step. We are not waiting on the government to change our lives.

The ALC proposed the college in response to serious concerns regarding the poor educational outcomes being achieved by children on Groote.

Its aim would be to give students a quality education in a safe and caring environment that teaches life skills as well as the academic programmes.

“Education for the past three decades has not been great,” Tony told the meeting.

“Our rights/entitlement to mainstream education is not up to standard; some elders, leaders were fortunate to be educated and schooled somewhere, taught at mission schools.

“I say it is not the parents’ responsibility but it is whole of communities’ responsibility when it comes to education. 

“Angurugu community is surrounded by mining and is a very complex and sticky community, that is why we need to build a new school somewhere on Bickerton Island.

“On country, children will learn to read and write alongside their language and culture, away from community disruptions; but close enough to go home on weekends, and school holidays. We need our children and grandchildren to be leaders of tomorrow, to be self-sufficient post mining, and we as leaders of today must give them the best opportunity possible.

“Education is the key to the outside world and children must have a balance in both worlds. English is a universal language. Our children must live in both worlds, Indigenous and non-Indigenous to survive post mining and beyond. We Aboriginal people can’t go back in time.

“This is why we have expert people here to help us establish a primary boarding college. Education can help us through life’s hardship.  We need to start today.”

See also College principal shares boarding school vision