Closing the Gap in Education – Australia meets Africa

Extract from recent Changing the Tide

I had the opportunity to visit Southern Africa last week, accompanied by Mark Newman, our Communications Officer.

I was invited to address the Closing the Gap in Education conference held at the Monash University campus in Johannesburg, South Africa, where papers comparing educational disparities in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia were presented. These included a keynote by Professor Mick Dodson, current Australian of the Year, and presentations by academics, educators and journalists from the three countries.

Among the delegates were a number of students from other African countries, including the Congo (DRC), Kenya and Somalia. I’m pleased to say that the Stronger Smarter message and our experiences in Indigenous education in this country had a big impact on the discussions.

On the trip I was also able to visit a number of iconic sites like Robben Island, Nelson Mandela’s House and the Hector Peterson Museum, which commemorates the student uprisings in Soweto. I got a deep insight into the pain and struggle that went into the overthrow of Apartheid and left with a very positive sense of a country going forward with hope and optimism.

We spent a short time in northern Botswana where we had discussions with representatives of the First Nations of Southern Africa who are known as the San (previously “Bushmen”). We heard about the situation of these people, who have been dispossessed, marginalized and abused for many centuries. We discussed the similarities and differences in the educational situations of these people and of our people here in Australia. I came away from Botswana very moved and with a feeling that Stronger Smarter methods and approaches to education could have a significant impact in this remote part of Africa.

Now back home with my family and with the “Stronger Smarter family”, as the year winds down, I just wish to reflect on what we have achieved this year. We can look back, I think, with some sense of achievement after a massive year. I wish to thank and congratulate all the staff of the Stronger Smarter Institute as well as all those in schools and communities around the country – all striving to make difference for Indigenous children, for all children and for all Australians.

Finally I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a peaceful loving New Year.

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2 Responses

  1. This is great stuff!!!

  2. Thanks for sharing this valuable insight with us, Chris. You and your team a doing a great job!

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