The Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (BIITE) and Charles Darwin University are entering into a formal collaborative partnership that will benefit both organisations and improve the quality of higher education available to Indigenous people.
The Federal Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, has announced that up to $8.9 million would be available to assist the transition to the new model in which CDU and BIITE would share expertise and overhead costs, including student administration, IT and human resources.
BIITE will remain independent and continue to provide vocational education and training courses, but the partnership with CDU for the delivery of higher education will assist BIITE to become viable in the long term.
The Vice-Chancellor of CDU, Professor Barney Glover, said that the two institutions were in the process of finalising operational aspects of the model to ensure that collaborative higher education offerings were aligned to the existing and emerging skill needs of the Northern Territory.
The Director of BIITE, Adrian Mitchell, said the aim of the partnership was to provide a broad range of high-quality higher education programs for Indigenous people.
“Through our continued cooperation, we expect to deliver the best possible outcomes for our undergraduate and postgraduate students, while ensuring that BIITE remains an independent institution,” Mr Mitchell said.
Professor Glover said Batchelor has made a particularly valuable contribution to the education of Indigenous people not only from the Northern Territory, but also from across Australia. It would continue to be at the centre of Indigenous education.
“The two institutions received more than $30 million funding in the 2009 Federal Budget to establish the Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Education on Casuarina campus and this will provide a culturally sensitive environment in which the joint BIITE and CDU activities will operate,” Professor Glover said.
The new operating arrangements are expected to be in place for the 2011 academic year.