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First Learning on Country students graduate
Five Indigenous ranger groups from Arnhem Land have entered formal partnerships with their community schools to participate in the Learning on Country programme.
The programme has a strong focus on ‘two-way’ learning and students are engaged through activities that use contemporary science and traditional knowledge to care for country.
Gutingarra Yunupingu and Mundatjngu Mununggurr from Yirrkala School became the first Learning on Country students to graduate from the programme with a Certificate Level II in Conservation and Land Management.
Two Dhimurru Rangers, Anthony Crafter and Grace Wunungmurra were also awarded a Certificate Level II in Conservation and Land Management at the graduation ceremony.
Learning on Country Coordinator, Dr Jonathan Wearne, was particularly impressed by how the Dhimurru Rangers and the Yirrkala School worked together to develop the next generation of rangers and future leaders of the community.
“Dhimurru have seized the opportunity to bring Learning on Country into their core business. Learning on Country events are an opportunity for Dhimurru to reach even further out into the Yolngu community they serve and to give Rangers an opportunity to develop and grow into leadership roles,” Jonathan said.
Central to the success of this programme is staff from Yirrkala School, Batchelor Institute and the Dhimurru Rangers – especially the Senior Cultural Advisor, Djalinda Yunupingu and Senior Rangers Gathapura Mununggurr and Yupunu Marika who planned and provided consistent support to students on country and in the classroom.
“The Learning on Country programme draws deeply on several decades of innovation in educational theory and practice by Yirrkala School and the Yambirrpa Schools Council”, Jonathan said.
Mundatjngu Mununggurr will join the workforce at Dhimurru and Gutingarra Yunupingu will join the workforce at the Mulka Centre at the Yirrkala Arts Centre.
Seven more Learning on Country students from Yirrkala School are on track to finish their Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management in 2016.