CDU welcomes Timorese soldiers 


A group of East Timorese soldiers have recently commenced studies with Charles Darwin University as a part of a new initiative to bridge the educational gap between the Timorese and Australian education systems.

The English Language Coordinator for the East Timorese Defence Force, Australian Army Captain Kylie France, contacted the University in March 2006 to see if a specialist program could be designed to help reduce the high rate of student failure on Australian high-end military courses.

Kylie explained that ‘East Timorese soldiers selected for training at institutions, such as the Royal Military College in Canberra, must compete with Australian officer cadets who have completed university study’.

‘While in East Timor, most soldiers have not even completed ten years of schooling, let alone a university degree. This lack of access to education has been primarily due to civil unrest and lack of infrastructure and facilities,’ she said.

Project Manager Lorraine Sushames and team have been tasked by the Australian Department of Defence with teaching these soldiers problem solving skills, critical analysis and broadening their general education.

Lorraine stated that ‘after 12 months of discussion between Kylie and myself, including a 5am rendezvous at the airport, a comprehensive course program and learning management strategy has been developed’.

‘I met the students several times before they were due to commence at the University. They are highly motivated and very enthusiastic about the opportunity to undertake studies here,’ she said.

The soldiers are here at CDU for five months and will be undertaking a full-time study load.