Federal government invests $14 million in First Nations language education program: NIT

Present day Australia covers hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations, each with their own language and culture. Image – David Foster/Australian Geographic

Joseph Guenzler – December 12, 2023

The federal Department of Education has joined forces with First Languages Australia to craft a flexible national grant initiative catering to local language community needs.

The First Nations Languages Education Program is geared towards supporting the First Nations language education workforce and enhancing First Nations language learning in primary schools through community-driven collaborations.

First Languages Australia is the main organisation working to make sure that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages are preserved and strengthened.

“Language connects us to our land, culture and ancestors – it is through our language that we see and describe the world around us,” the organisation said.

“Each language has a unique way to see the world.

“When a language is no longer spoken, we aren’t just losing the language, we are losing a way to see the world thought that language and the connection to our land, culture and ancestors.”

The Australian Government is dedicating more than $14 million until 2025-26 in support of the initiative.

Communities eager to support the emergence of the next wave of First Nations language educators and the integration of their language into local primary schools can access grants.

The grants support projects encompassing intensive community language learning activities, aiding community language learners in honing teaching skills, and fostering community-led partnerships focused on teaching languages in schools.

In the upcoming months, First Languages Australia will collaborate with language communities to devise project plans aligning with the outlined criteria.

Communities must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) and devise a language plan with First Languages Australia to be eligible for a grant.

Expressions of Interest for the program opened on 07 December 2023 and closes on 28 February 2024.

Interested parties are asked to express their interest in the program by completing the provided form.

National Indigenous Times