Charles Darwin University has secured $4.8 million in Commonwealth funding to establish an outreach program aimed at improving participation in VET and Higher Educational study in the Northern Territory.
The outreach program will encourage students from lower socio-economic status (LSES) backgrounds to complete their secondary schooling and progress, either directly or by VET pathways, into higher education studies. The program will have a specific focus on Indigenous and regional and remote students.
Pro Vice-Chancellor Learning, Teaching and Community Engagement, Associate Professor Martin Carroll said that as a dual-sector institution, CDU has high engagement with Indigenous students, with around 4000 enrolled in VET courses and 400 in Higher Education. However, more can be done to improve educational opportunities and outcomes.
“CDU will establish, in partnership with Kormilda College and Centralian Senior College in the first instance, an outreach program that extends from Grade 8 through to university study,” Mr Carroll said.
“There are two main elements to the program. Firstly, it will include mentoring and careers guidance for school students, designed to help them think of and plan for higher education as a real possibility,” he said. “This will be provided by professional mentors and senior students who have direct experience of the, at times challenging, journey many students face. It will build upon the excellent mentorship already taking place in our partner schools.
“The second aspect involves sharing with schools the student engagement opportunities that come from CDU’s online learning activities and technologies,” Mr Carroll said. “In this way, schools can augment their teaching and extracurricular activities with high-quality online resources, and we can familiarise students with higher education-style learning long before they reach university.”
The Principal for Centralian Senior College, Mr Eddie Fabijan said it was an excellent opportunity for his school to partner with Kormilda College and CDU in building strong pathways for students into higher education.
The program will be supported by the Centre for School Leadership, Learning and Development (a joint initiative between DET and CDU) and the School of Education. Additionally, there will be strong linkages to the Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Education and the Northern Territory Government.