Celebrating reconciliation - Education Matters Magazine
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Celebrating reconciliation

Reconciliation Australia has launched the Narragunnawali Awards 2019, which recognise exceptional commitment to reconciliation in education.

Reconciliation Australia is an independent, national not-for-profit organisation promoting reconciliation by inspiring and enabling all Australians to build stronger relationships, respect and trust between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

In 2017, Reconciliation Australia, in partnership with BHP Foundation, established the Narragunnawali Awards to celebrate schools and early learning services that demonstrate dedication and commitment to implementing reconciliation initiatives in the classroom, around the school or service, and within the community. Held biennially, it is the first and only national awards program for reconciliation in the early, primary and secondary education sectors.

Awards are presented in two categories:
• Schools: including primary, secondary, senior secondary and combined schools within the government, independent or Catholic sectors.
• Early Learning: including early childhood education and care, preschool, family day care and out of school hours care services.

Schools and early learning services that display exceptional commitment to reconciliation are encouraged to nominate, with prizes including $10,000 to support the winners’ reconciliation initiatives, and a short film vignette showcasing the reconciliation initiatives in their school or early learning centre.

At the inaugural awards, Queanbeyan Public School and Explore Develop Penrith South were named winners. Both involved their broader communities in reconciliation, and highlighted local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and languages in day-to-day school activities.

Chief Executive Officer of Reconciliation Australia, Karen Mundine, says that historically, educational institutions had perpetuated myths and misinformation about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and for this reason the Narragunnawali Awards take on a particularly important place in Australia’s reconciliation process. “Education is critical to how we understand and think about reconciliation. The earlier we have these conversations, the better.”

Reconciliation Australia identifies five key dimensions critical to advancing reconciliation: historical acceptance, race relations, unity, equality and equity, and institutional integrity.

“It is clear that education plays a powerful role in progressing reconciliation in Australia. Education is the key to broadening perspectives and cultivating understanding of reconciliation – each of these five dimensions can be progressed on a daily basis in classrooms around Australia,” Ms Mundine adds.

Through the Narragunnawali program, over 3400 schools and early learning services across Australia have committed to developing a Reconciliation Action Plan to drive positive, whole-scale change in their local educational communities.

Ms Mundine encouraged those schools and early learning centres that strengthen community relationships, and build respect and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories, to nominate for the upcoming Narragunnawali Awards.

Nominations for this year’s Narragunnawali Awards close Friday, 10 May 2019.

Nominations can be made online by clicking here.

Buyer’s Guide
Reconciliation Australia
Ph: 02 6273 9200