Community yarn on kids’ education

Saskia AdystiGreat Southern Herald

Forty Aboriginal parents attended the Yarning for Our Children forum at Katanning Noongar Centre last week to discuss education matters for local children.

Hazel Ealen, a member of Katanning Aboriginal Corporation, was invited by Shire of Katanning to run the event and listened to informal discussion on Aboriginal children’s education in town.

“It’s not just about education — it’s also about social issues that exist in the community,” she said.

“We talked about the barriers for people who are currently living on low income — or people who are unable to find employment in town.”

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Another issue that came up during the event was the level of non-attendance in school by Aboriginal students.

The community identified barriers Aboriginal children might came across in school and discussed ways parents could get better involved.

“We encourage parents to be more involved with school staff — so they know first-hand what’s going on with their kids,” Ms Ealen said.

Some of the recommendations that came up during discussion included cultural awareness training, a counter-bullying program, an early prevention program and more private counselling for the students.

Ms Ealen will present the final report from the forum discussion to Katanning Shire and Department of Education.

Once the report is finalised it will then be presented to the State Government for review.

Currently Katanning Senior High School has more than 100 Aboriginal students, double the number of Aboriginal students enrolled last year.

Ms Ealen said the event was a success as the community was really engaged at the meeting.

“We all know how important this is, it’s about building future leaders in our community,” she said.

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