New program helps Indigenous students aim high

9 May 2013

A new pilot program will help young Indigenous high school students set their sights on university.

The Indigenous Academic Enrichment Program (IAEP) will provide residential program and ongoing support for Indigenous Year 9 and 10 students, as well as teacher training, in schools across Victoria and Southern New South Wales.

Visiting Bendigo Senior Secondary College today, Minister for Higher Education and Skills Sharon Bird announced $428,000 for the program, which will be run by University of Melbourne.

“The Labor Government believes every Australian, rich or poor, no matter where they live or where they come from, can go to university if they have the ability and are prepared to work,” Minister Bird said.

“As a former teacher, I know that every student has the potential to turn their dreams into reality if they are supported, encouraged and provided appropriate resources. 

“Unfortunately for many disadvantaged Indigenous children, getting into university is an enormous challenge,” she said.

Students nominated by partner schools will participate in the IAEP, which will include an academic skills program delivered while in residential college at Melbourne University’s Parkville campus, and close interaction between the university and teachers at these schools to track students’ progress.

“All Australians with the interest and ability should be encouraged to consider studying at university,” Minister Bird said.

The number of Indigenous students enrolled at Australian universities has grown by over 40 per cent since 2006. The Labor Government continues to support innovative programs to increase access to university through the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP).

“Through HEPPP, the Labor Government helps universities work closely with schools, TAFEs, state governments and other people in our community.”

The main focus of the IAEP is helping disadvantaged Indigenous high school students by developing their academic skills across a broad range of disciplines, to increase their readiness for university.