Students from the Northern Peninsula Area State College in Far North Queensland have been the first to take part in a new Indigenous Education Program launched this week.
The program, introduced by Australian charity SolarBuddy, is focused on increasing STEM education opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students living in regional, low socioeconomic and off-grid areas across Australia.
As part of the hands-on experience, students become global citizens as they learn about renewable energy, extreme energy poverty, and the role of Indigenous Knowledge and Science in finding solution to global issues.
More than 300 students across three campuses have taken part in the program this week to assemble 600 SolarBuddy solar lights. Each student will gift one light to a child living in extreme energy poverty and keep one light for themselves. The solar lights allow children to safely study after dusk with a reliable and safe source of light.
SolarBuddy General Manager Billie Murphy described the new program as unique in its celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s ongoing contribution to STEM.
“We continue to learn so much from Traditional Indigenous Knowledge about skills and philosophies, land management, science, medicine and the sustainable management of the environment. Incorporating Indigenous Knowledge into our STEM Education program was a priority to ensure the best program outcomes,” Ms Murphy said.
Supported by the Origin Energy Foundation, SolarBuddy worked in collaboration with Indigenous Educators to develop the program in order to ensure it supported and inspired Indigenous students to increase their STEM engagement.
The Origin Energy Foundation is a long-term supporter of SolarBuddy’s Education Program and has funded the launch of the program at the Northern Peninsula Area State College.