S.H.E.P. raised as Homelands path
An initiative allowing students to complete a Northern Territory Certificate of Education while living in their Homeland communities was relaunched at the coastal East Arnhem community of Garrthalala in early September.
The Secondary Homelands Education Program, which will enable local students to complete the NTCET at Yirrkala Homelands School, follows advocacy by Homeland communities for pathways to the certificate.
Yirrkala Homelands School principal Haidee Dentith said S.H.E.P was originally built on the vision of key Yolŋu educators, and its restoration will include “key areas for learning, and the preparation of students as Homeland and global citizens”.
"Currently we have about 30 students from eight Homeland communities involved in S.H.E.P," she said. "The NTCET pathways, which will include mandated subjects, will also link to the ambitions and needs of the students and their homelands.
"Generally, students were engaged before the restoration of S.H.E.P, but the families wanted the program revived as an alternative to sending their children to boarding school, or larger centres, to access an NTCET pathway.
"Students will see how S.H.E.P can be an avenue to success. It is robustly connected to their families, language, culture and country."
Ms Dentith is excited to be working with Yolŋu leaders to deliver an initiative that will attract student ownership and input.
"It’s an absolute privilege to work with senior leaders, ensuring the education we are offering is consistent with the aspirations of the students, parents and homelands communities,” she said.
S.H.E.P student Gapaya spoke of its value at the launch:
"Education is the most important thing in the world, to help our community and our people," he said.
"In the future, my aim is to go to university and be a fully qualified school teacher. Then I can come back and teach in the homelands."