ACU partnership bridges digital divide for Indigenous students

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

28 August 2008: A partnership between Australian Catholic University (ACU), Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) and The Smith Family seeking to bridge the digital divide has provided laptop computers to a group of thirty Indigenous students, allowing them to continue their studies when returning to their communities.

Education and business students from ACU’s Indigenous Support Unit, Weemala, were presented with their laptops, which also came with 12 months internet access, at the University’s Brisbane Campus (McAuley at Banyo) recently.

Financial support for the project was generously provided by the Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) who contributed over $10,000.

ACU Associate Professor of business Nasir Butrous has been a key instigator of the project, which he says recognises a pressing need.

“ACU is committed to improving access to courses for disadvantaged groups,” he said.

“Our on-campus Indigenous Education Units seek to provide appropriate cultural, personal and academic support to our Indigenous students. This project in particular hopes to assist with the challenges faced by Indigenous students in light of the increasing emphasis on the use of computer technology in tertiary study.”

The Smith Family partnership manager Jeff Davies believes the project is a great example of how strategic partnerships of organisations can assist students in financial need, to ensure they receive equal opportunities to complete their courses after they return to their communities.

“These laptop computers with twelve months free internet access will go a long way to ensure students have access to the latest technology and remain in touch with their peers and lecturers,” Mr Davies said. “The Smith Family would find it very difficult to assist these students without the generous support of individuals and organisations such as BAC who are assisting us to help pave the way for these students.

“The Smith Family is dedicated to supporting financially disadvantaged young people and families who will benefit from financial assistance, and from that assistance, be able to further their education and to fulfil their full potential. This endeavour is a wonderful example of that,” he said.

ACU’s Brisbane Campus offers courses in business, arts, education, information systems, midwifery, music, nursing, paramedicince, psychology, social work, social science and theology. 

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.