The Yothu Yindi Foundation’s long-held dream of establishing a world-class education hub in northeast Arnhem Land is becoming a reality.

This is a game-changer for the region, offering a Yolngu-centred curriculum across the education lifecycle: Early Childhood to Primary, Secondary, VET, Bridging and Tertiary education levels.

It represents a new model in education, operating independently of the government school system.

The junior school is already up and running, and government has indicated its support for the secondary and tertiary components of the project.

The education hub is inspired, in part, by the success of the old Dhupuma College – a residential college for Yolngu students which operated in the area in the late 1970’s, and which counts many of today’s community leaders among its alumni.

“Dhupuma” means looking up in the Yolngu language.

There are 3 components to the education hub:

  • The Dhupuma Barker junior school, based in Gunyangara (in partnership with Barker College);
  • The Dhupuma Studio School, a residential secondary school based at Gulkula (in partnership with Studio Schools of Australia); and
  • The Garma Institute, a tertiary / vocational education facility, also based at Gulkula (in partnership with University of Melbourne).

This is the culmination of more than 20 years’ work by the Foundation and community leaders for locally-owned and locally-run education.

Right now, too many kids are disengaged with the mainstream system, with falling attendance rates leading to unemployment, incarceration and poor health outcomes further down the track.

Education works best when its driven by the local community, and YYF is working hand-in-hand with local families every step of the way, ensuring there’s community involvement in everything from the design of the buildings to what’s taught in the classroom.

By properly integrating Yolngu knowledge and philosophy in the curriculum, we will unleash the potential of the next generation, and improve educational and employment outcomes.