Education policy a winner, says Swan
Bishop Geoffrey Robinson discusses the new education policy, Many voices: One shared vision, with Elsie Heiss and Michael O’Loughlin
The Catholic Education Office Sydney has kicked a goal with its new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education policy, says Sydney Swans star Michael O’Loughlin.
The mercurial forward joined Aboriginal and Catholic education representatives at the Education Office in Leichhardt to launch the policy, Many Voices: One Shared Vision, which relates to indigenous and non-indigenous students in Catholic schools in the archdiocese.
It outlines the responsibilities of the Education Office and its 150 schools to provide a high-quality Catholic education for indigenous students and to provide programs that promote reconciliation and a greater knowledge and understanding of indigenous history and culture.
Br Kelvin Canavan, executive director of schools in the archdiocese, said the new policy builds on that of 1988, and re-affirms the strong commitment of the Education Office to strengthen reconciliation through education.
“It also re-affirms the commitment to reconciliation and to learning the truth about our shared history that was made by the Sydney Catholic school community at our Jubilee celebration on March17, 2000, at Stadium Australia,” he said.
Br Kelvin added that the challenge for the CEO and its schools was to ensure the implementation of the policy.
Michael O’Loughlin said he was very honoured and proud to be involved in the launch of the policy on National Sorry Day.
He joined other speakers in stating the importance of education as the way forward for Aboriginal people.
The talented Swan singled out his parents - and the value they placed on hard work and education - as being crucial to where he is today.
He said that in his many visits to schools he stresses that education is the number one priority.
“So when I am talking to kids I say: ‘Enjoy your sport but the most important thing is to concentrate on your education’.”
Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, chairman of the Sydney Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Board, spoke about growing up in an era when there was a great silence about the history of indigenous people in Australia
He said that it was not until he was middle-aged that he learnt something of the story of the indigenous people, and of the serious negatives of that story and history. “I do not want students of today coming through with the silence of that history,” he said.
“The launch of this new policy is one step along a path, which I hope will ensure that the young people of the future will learn, among a lot of things, a commitment to reconciliation and a true knowledge of our shared history.”
The policy was launched by the co-ordinator of the Aboriginal Catholic Church Ministry, Elsie Heiss.