UWS helps improve opportunities for Tennant Creek students

Date: 04/05/2009

Indigenous Australians have a proud tradition of passing down knowledge and skills from older to younger generations.

As part of a new community education program, the University of Western Sydney will be helping to facilitate this traditional method of learning in Indigenous young people from Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory.

Community Action Support (CAS) is an innovative program which has been created by the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation (ALNF) as a means to improve the literacy and educational opportunities of Indigenous young people to in remote areas.

Dr Loshini Naidoo, from the UWS School of Education, says the University is a proud partner of the CAS program.

"An elite group of UWS Master of Teaching (Secondary) students have been trained by ALNF and Indigenous community groups to act as mentors for Indigenous students in Tennant Creek," says Dr Naidoo.

"The aim of the mentorship program is to assist the 16-18 year-old students in their transition to tertiary study or the workplace, and to provide them with the necessary knowledge and skills to act as mentors themselves for younger students."

Dr Naidoo says following the mentorship by UWS Masters students, the students from Tennant Creek High School will spend time with students aged 5-11 from Tennant Creek Primary School.

"The aim of this next phase of the CAS project will be for the older students to teach the younger members of their community about literacy, as well as tutor them in their own Indigenous and English languages," says Dr Naidoo.

According to Dr Naidoo, the UWS students have participated in mentorship training sessions with the ALNF, as well as cultural advice and language support sessions with staff from Papulu Apparr Kari, the Tennant Creek Language Centre.

"In June and October this year, the UWS mentors will travel to Tennant Creek to provide face-to-face guidance and support to the high school students," says Dr Naidoo.

"While the Masters students are based at UWS, they will continue to mentor the students by distance, using an online resource library and discussion forum designed by the ALNF."

Dr Naidoo says the CAS project is truly a collaborative effort, with ALNF and UWS working in close partnership with schools and community groups in Tennant Creek to make the initiative possible.

"This initiative has given many organisations the opportunity to collaborate and combine with the shared cause of improving opportunities for young people," she says.

MEDIA PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: On the 7th May, 2009, Indigenous Elders from Tennant Creek will visit the UWS Kingswood Campus to show their support and informally recognise the start of the Community Action Support project.



Media Officer

Danielle Roddick
02 9678 7086, 0414 308 701