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You may have read the most recent results of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) study, which has found that globally students around the world have declined in reading and mathematics since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The impact of two years of lockdowns and remote learning are clear, with many students particularly in primary school now half to a full year of learning behind in key subjects such as English and mathematics.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the PISA reports found that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students were about four years of schooling behind non-Indigenous students.

When Ganbina opened in Shepparton in the late 1990s, this was apparent, with many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary school students often two or more years behind their peers. This had a significant long-term impact, because when a young Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person was that far behind their peers, often by the time they reached upper primary-early high school, school becomes too hard. This leads to disengagement and often dropping out of school at a young age, which can lead to a cycle of unemployment and welfare dependency.

That’s why Ganbina decided to launch an Accelerated Learning Program, which provides tutoring in English and Maths in a culturally appropriate environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Grades three to six.

This year we had 23 participants registered for Maths tutoring for term 2 and in term 3 we are running our English and Cultural Yarn program.

A unique offering of the Accelerated Learning Program is the Cultural Yarn element that is offered in conjunction with the English tutoring. When students are enrolled in the English Accelerated Learning Program, they have the opportunity to learn more about Yorta Yorta and Bangerang culture and history, cultural knowledge and practices.

Participants are encourage to speak about their own mobs, connections and develop confidence and pride in their cultural identity.

Research shows that when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youth have a strong connection and pride in their cultural identity, this increases confidence and self-esteem, which results in greater resilience and the ability to withstand setbacks, including education and academic setbacks or challenges.

The results of the PISA study demonstrate that now more than ever, our Accelerated Learning Program is a vital service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youth. Tutoring is not a hand out, but a hand up to our youth, so they can be on an equal learning level as their peers and unlock their full potential in education.

Without the support of our funders, we would not be able to run the Accelerated Learning Program, which is a vital element of our education program.

For this, we thank you.