UWS Aboriginal student hailed as top teaching graduate

Date: 25/11/2002

A University of Western Sydney student's teaching career has been fast-tracked, after being chosen for employment priority by the State Government.

Kelly-Maree Cox, a graduate of the UWS Aboriginal Rural Education Program (AREP), has been identified by the Department of Education and Training as one of the state's top new graduates.

She's already been offered a teaching position for 2003 in a Liverpool public school.

Associate Professor Bob Perry from the UWS School of Education and Early Childhood Studies says Kelly-Maree was one of the outstanding students from this year's teacher education AREP.

"The program aims to train Aboriginal people to become teachers, and has been running at UWS since 1984," Associate Professor Perry says.

"Many of our students are already working as Aboriginal Education assistants in regional schools, and decide to enrol in the program to gain formal teaching qualifications.

"They then work towards a Bachelor of Teaching degree through a combination of distance education and attending the University's Bankstown campus four times a year," he says.

Associate Professor Perry says Kelly-Maree's results, in often trying circumstances, were outstanding.

"It's often quite difficult to balance work and study commitments, but Kelly-Maree coped very well with the pressure," he says.

"She combined professional experience as a prac teacher in Sydney's south-west with coursework to achieve excellent results. We're very pleased the Department of Education and Training has identified her as an excellent teaching prospect, and given her a helping hand to secure that all-important first job.

"She's also a great ambassador for the University's Aboriginal Rural Education Program."

Kelly-Maree says she learned of AREP through a friend, whose son had recently graduated from the program, and decided to enrol herself.

"I found the program to be very professional, and the University staff understanding, supportive and encouraging. They are committed to getting more Aboriginal people into teaching," she says.

Kelly-Maree admits she's excited by the challenges facing her in her new career.
"It's a real empowering process to have such a direct role in someone's education. It's exhilarating, and I can only hope that I can pass on some of my own passion for learning to the children."

Associate Professor Perry says the teacher education AREP is currently accepting enrolments for the 2003 academic year.

"We would encourage other indigenous people, who are considering a career in education, to find out more about the AREP program. Past graduates are currently working as school principals and education consultants, so the course does achieve results," he says.

For more information about the Aboriginal Rural Education Program, contact 02-9772 6657, or email b.perry@uws.edu.au

Media Enquiries:
Angela McIntyre
Senior Media Officer
02-9852 5822
0419 244 595
Email: a.mcintyre@uws.edu.au