24 November, 2006: Australian Catholic University (ACU) has honoured its first round of teaching graduates in East Timor, with ACU-accredited degrees from Baucau Teachers College.24 November, 2006: Australian Catholic University (ACU) has honoured its first round of teaching graduates in East Timor, with ACU-accredited degrees from Baucau Teachers College.
A group of 48 graduates received their Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) in a ceremony held in Baucau – about 120km from the capital Dili – on Saturday night (18 November). An additional six students received certificates and postgraduate qualifications in front of the audience, which included Prime Minister of East Timor Dr Jose Ramos-Horta and first lady Kirsty Sword-Gusmao, wife of East Timorese President Xanana Gusmao.
ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan AO, who was on hand to present graduates with their degrees, said, "As a developing nation, East Timor has struggled to educate teachers to fill placements in local schools. ACU recognises the enormous value of education in building a prosperous future for East Timor and is delighted to be able to accredit and support the Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) course.
"These graduating students come from all 13 districts of East Timor and have been encouraged to return to their home districts to teach at local primary schools. All are highly motivated and willing to share their skills and experience to educate the country’s leaders of tomorrow."
The Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) course is coordinated by ACU academic Margie Beck, who is seconded from the School of Education at the University’s Strathfield Campus (Mount St Mary) in Sydney. In addition to teaching support at Baucau Teachers College, ACU offers financial assistance to students through the Maria Gorete Joaquim Scholarship, named after a well-known figure in the East Timorese independence movement.
Baucau Teachers College was founded in 2001 by the international teaching congregation, the Marist Brothers, at the request of the Bishop of Baucau. It is the only dedicated, internationally organised provider of primary teacher education in East Timor.
Australian Catholic University (ACU) – established as Australia’s only Catholic, national, publicly funded university – is open to all. The University empowers its students and staff with a strong sense of social responsibility and concern for the moral and ethical dimensions of their study and their professional and personal lives.
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