RATE makes its way back to the Northern Territory, carving a path for ECEC educators
The Northern Territory Government has honoured a commitment to boost the Territory’s frontline Aboriginal workforce through the reintroduction of Remote Aboriginal Teacher Education (RATE).
In 2016, the Northern Territory Labor party made an election promise to increase the number of frontline Aboriginal workers in fields such as education and care, healthcare and the police force to 500 by 2026.
Yesterday the Territory’s Minister for Education Selena Uibo announced the re-establishment of the RATE program to help provide employment pathways for remote residents to pursue a career in teaching at schools and in early childhood settings.
A pilot program, beginning in 2021, will be delivered in partnership with Charles Darwin University and the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education to enable remote residents to receive formal training while working in remote childcare centres and schools.
Gapuwiyak Early Childhood Educator, Alison Wunungmurra said that the resurgence of the program, which ran successfully for many years in the 1980s and 1990s, “will only make our community that much stronger”.
“Strong mentoring and support will help Aboriginal educators stay on the path to gaining further skills and experience to support our children in the community,” she added.
For those who participate in the program who then wish to become fully qualified, support will be provided to assist them in reaching the next level of tertiary education.
Currently there are 150 Aboriginal teachers in NT schools, 68 of whom are based outside the central hubs of Darwin and Alice Springs. In addition, there are 224 Aboriginal Assistant Teachers working in remote schools across the Territory.
The presence of Aborignal educators in education and care settings throughout the Territory, Ms Uibo said, is important because “Aboriginal teachers are seen as role models and leaders, not only within schools, but within their communities”.
Ms Uibo explained the transformative power of the program, saying that many students in earlier rounds of the program “went on to become Senior Teachers and School Principals, including my own mother, Didamain Uibo, who studied on campus at Batchelor”.
Preparations are underway to ensure communities are ready to engage in the pilot program in 2021, with community members across the Territory showing a lot of interest in the programs reintroduction.
For more information about the RATE program, please see here.