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NSW schools to teach Indigenous languages

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in NSW schools will soon be able to learn their community's languages, with the rollout of a redeveloped Aboriginal Language syllabus.

The new syllabus will give students a critical opportunity to learn from their local communities, in the more than 35 languages and 100 dialects known to come from NSW.

"For the first time, students who speak an Aboriginal language or Torres Strait Islander language at home will be able to progress the study of that language at school," Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said Monday.

It's the first overhaul to how Indigenous languages are taught in NSW schools in twenty years, she added.

The kindergarten to year 10 syllabus also provides guidance on involving Aboriginal communities and local knowledge holders in classes.

Students can learn in two pathways - either through the Language Revival pathway for those with no prior language, or through the First Language pathway, for those who speak a language at home.

The models are similar to beginner and advanced language courses already rolled out in schools.

President of the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group said the syllabus was produced with the support of Aboriginal communities.

The program would support the NSW Aboriginal Languages Act 2017, which ruled First Nations people's languages are an integral part of the world's oldest living culture and connect Aboriginal people to each other and to their land.

The syllabus was developed with consultation and support of Aboriginal communities and education stakeholders.

Indigenous students are entitled to learn their own languages at school, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Franklin said.

"Empowering young Aboriginal people to maintain a strong sense of identity, belonging and culture and learn more about Aboriginal languages is hugely beneficial to their overall educational and social outcomes," he said.

The syllabus will be available to teachers for planning next year, and will be ready for classrooms the following year.

Story by Phoebe Loomes, AAP


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