New TV series showcases Indigenous students’ journey to university.
A new TV series encouraging university participation – Indigenous Models of Achievement – was launched at the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence in Sydney on Thursday.
The series features recent and current Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students recounting their journey to university. These are aired via community TV stations throughout Australia and can be viewed on the Make Your Mark website.
The initiative is aimed at Indigenous students and features tailored information designed to help communities under-represented in tertiary education explore life, career and study options. It aims to dispel confusion or apprehension for those unfamiliar with university by assisting students and their parents and carers to find out what is involved in applying for university, what to study, where to go and who to speak to.
Former Young Australian of the Year, Tania Major, spoke at the launch on the importance of increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in higher education. Tania is the founder and chair of the Major Impact Foundation, an organisation dedicated to assisting disadvantaged Indigenous people to overcome entrenched poverty.
Make Your Mark is part of the wider Bridges to Higher Education program. ACU is one of five universities* involved in the initiative, which aims to improve the participation rates of students from communities under-represented in higher education. ACU’s Equity Pathways and the Yalbalinga Indigenous Higher Education Unit were both involved in coordinating the TV series.
In a video statement of support, ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven said the Make Your Mark website was the culmination of three years of deep embedded work in the widening participation arena. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has also recorded a statement for the site.
In just two years, the Bridges to Higher Education initiative has had a profound impact on student outlooks. The program has had more than 200,000 contacts with school students from around NSW, with 97 per cent of students surveyed having indicated increased confidence levels in their academic abilities. Of those, 87 per cent felt better prepared for university and 81 per cent reported improved motivation to complete Year 12.
* Bridges to Higher Education is a partnership between ACU, the University of Western Sydney, the University of Sydney, the University of Technology, Sydney, and Macquarie University.