Middle schoolers encouraged to think about university 

Science activities helped engage students and their parents at an Into Uni meet and greet event in Alice Springs. From left: Stevie-Louise (standing), Danielle and Glen Oliver with Into Uni’s Lorna Murakami-Gold

A small seed of thought about a big idea for the future has been firmly planted in the minds of a group of Alice Springs middle school students.

The big idea, to one day enrol in higher education, has been well received by students, their families, and teachers at Charles Darwin University’s recent Into Uni event at Centralian Middle School. 

Event organiser Lorna Murakami-Gold from the Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Education is the Alice Springs representative for the Into Uni program.

“It was an opportunity to encourage students to complete their secondary schooling and progress either directly, or by vocational pathways, to higher education,” Ms Murakami-Gold said.

“We spoke about the Mentoring and Enrichment Program, which provides academic support to Indigenous students as they journey through to complete Year 12.

“It is important to build aspirations among students, especially among those who might think tertiary education was beyond their reach.”

Ms Murakami-Gold said it was significant that a number of parents showed an interest and commitment to supporting their children in completing year 12 with a vision of attending university.

“There was a high level of engagement with the hands-on science enrichment activities, which included a popular and tasty ice-cream making experiment.

“The primary aim was to meet students and their families socially in a school environment, and to explain that higher education is a distinct possibility.”

The focus differed at a second Into Uni event, held at Centralian Senior College.

“We wanted to demonstrate the university’s online learning management system and give students an opportunity to engage with online learning technology and for students to consider the benefits of the Mentoring and Enrichment Program to support their academic journey.”

Ms Murakami-Gold said the $4.8 million Into Uni Program was funded by the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program.
“It’s a multi-faceted outreach program designed to assist students from Centralian Middle School, Centralian Senior College and Kormilda College to provide a pathway to higher education.”