Indigenous education leader speaks on Closing the Gap
Wednesday, 6 February 2013
Professor Lester-Irabinna Rigney has worked in Indigenous Education for over 20 years. He is currently Head of Indigenous Education at the University of Adelaide He has a Doctorate PhD by Research and is a Professor of Education.
In 2011 Professor Rigney won the National Aboriginal scholar of the Year NAIDOC. In the same year he was appointed by the Australian Government Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, The Hon Peter Garrett to the First Peoples Education Advisory Group that advises on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early childhood and school education.
In 2011 he was appointed by the same Minister Australian Ambassador for Aboriginal Education. In 2009 he received an honorary United Nations award from the Australian Chapter for his work on Indigenous Education. He has been a member of several high profile expert committees including the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare COAG 'Closing the Gap' Scientific Reference Group, the National Aboriginal Reference Group 25 year Indigenous Education Plan and Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority, National Languages Curriculum Reference Group. Professor Rigney was the inaugural Co-Chair of Ethics Council for the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples. In 2009 Professor Rigney was co-author of the review of the National Indigenous Education document Australian Directions for the Federal Government. He was been working across the Pacific on Indigenous Education in New Zealand, Taiwan and Canada. Professor Rigney was a member on the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Research Advisory Committee as expert on education and cultural transmission. His professional standing in education saw him inducted into the Australian College of Educators (ACE) in 1998.
He is recognised as a national and international authority in the area of Indigenist Research Methodologies. Interest in his work by National and International universities has seen him uptake several prestigious Visiting scholar invitations including Cambridge University, UK; Fort Hare University, South Africa; and University of British Columbia, Canada. He has also been chief/co-investigator, led research teams for reports and policies for key benchmarking research/government agencies including: United Nations; DEEWR; NCVER; AIATSIS; The office of the SA Premier and Cabinet; SA Department of Education and Children's Services. Similarly, Professor Rigney is an active editorial board member on several national and international Indigenous Studies journals.
Professor Rigney is in constant demand as a commentator on national and international Indigenous matters and has published widely on Education, Languages and Knowledge transmission. His 2006 co-edited book titled Sharing Spaces: Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Responses to Story, Country and Rights, is an Australian text on Indigenous and non-Indigenous race relations and how this converges in the vulnerable, vital and contested space called 'education'.