Friday, April 19, 2024

More First Nations names for Victorian schools

Victorian Minister for Education, Natalie Hutchins, today announced changes to the Department of Education’s School and Campus Naming Policy to deliver more widespread use of First Nations languages when selecting school and campus names, through a stronger and simpler selection process.

Minister Hutchins said that embracing First Nations languages in more school names will contribute to the ongoing process of reconciliation.

“We’re ensuring the history, culture and languages of Victoria’s First Peoples are strongly embedded in our education system,” she said.

The changes will ensure that only Traditional Owner groups will propose Aboriginal language names, with all new Government schools and campuses to have proposed names preferenced, in an aimed at promoting Aboriginal self-determination.

The changes will also clarify and streamline the approach to engaging with First Nations groups and communities, the Minister said.

The policy was previously updated in March last year to introduce new requirements including mandatory consultation with Traditional Owner groups and extending the use of the Engage Victoria platform for public consultation on new names.

There are 14 new government schools scheduled to open in 2024 and the naming process for these is already under way, in close consultation with Traditional Owner groups and Regional Advisory Groups, said Ms Hutchins.

The changes do not affect the ongoing consultation with these groups but will be in effect for the naming process for new schools opening in 2025, she said.

Several new government schools and campuses that opened this year have Aboriginal language names, including Barrawang PS, Karwan PS, Kurrun PS, Nearnung PS, Wayi School and Ngarri PS, and the Minister approved the renaming of Moreland PS to Merri-bek PS.

“How we name things, including schools, contributes to community understanding. This is particularly important on Victoria’s path to Truth and Treaty with our First Peoples,” said Minister for Treaty and First Peoples, Gabrielle Williams.

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