Young Western Australians from Rockingham, Kwinana and the Peel region will be inspired and supported to study at university through a new Federal Government and Murdoch University project launched today.
The Minister for Tertiary Education Senator Chris Evans, the Minister for School Education Peter Garrett and the Federal Member for Brand Gary Gray visited Murdoch’s Rockingham campus to launch the four-year Building Aspirations and Learning Links for Young people to go to University project.
Murdoch University has received a $5 million grant from the Gillard Government to implement outreach projects in local high schools to encourage and inspire local students to continue their education at university.
"Our unprecedented investment and our landmark higher education reforms have opened up the doors of our universities to an extra 190,000 Australians,” Senator Evans said.
“Because of our reforms, a record number of Australians, from different backgrounds, are now accessing university."
Mr Garrett said the project would work within schools and with individual students and their families to turn university aspirations into a reality
“This is about removing the barriers to university education faced by young people from low socio-economic backgrounds, including those from remote, rural and regional Australia,” Mr Garrett said.
Murdoch Pro Vice Chancellor for Peel and Rockingham, Professor Andrew Taggart said that only 49 per cent of high school leavers in Western Australia are willing and able to go to university, the lowest number in Australia, and that the figure is even lower in the Rockingham, Kwinana and Peel areas.
“The funding will be used to work with many of the high schools in the region to create innovative programs,” Professor Taggart said.
“Some of the local high schools have already begun working with Murdoch to develop plans to meet the goals of the project.
“The project is aimed at increasing the number of students gaining an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), tackling more difficult subjects in years 11 and 12, linking to university study through enabling programs and improving English competence.”
Projects, designed by each school, will follow a number of themes:
- innovative curriculum and teaching particularly in science, creative arts and physical education;
- aspiration building projects that link students to improved learning and to career development and career goals;
- alternative curriculum to reconnect with students who disconnect from traditional learning programs and
- leadership and teacher development to build resilient school cultures that grow aspirations.
“Almost all of the prospective students that are attracted to university through the project will be the first in their families to enter higher education. The project will see WA address some of its future workforce planning and state development needs,” Professor Taggart said.
“The universities have a role to play in listening to the many students who complete high school yet do not aspire to attend university. New university courses and pathway programs at our Rockingham and Peel campuses will be part of the response.”