ACU partnership receives funds to close the gap

Monday, 29 November 2010

26 November 2010: An Australian Catholic University (ACU) collaboration aimed at improving numeracy among Indigenous students in Victoria has received $947,000 as part of a Federal government effort to close the education gap.

The Extending Mathematical Understanding (EMU) project is a collaboration between ACU, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria, and Independent Schools Victoria.

EMU is a research-based intervention program focusing on the early years of schooling, developed by Dr Ann Gervasoni, education lecturer at ACU’s Ballarat Campus.

“The EMU Program is a series of intensive and personalised mathematics lessons for small groups of students who are taught by a specialist teacher,” she said “The program is successful in accelerating students’ mathematics learning and for increasing their confidence and enjoyment of learning mathematics."

The project builds upon the findings of the DEEWR funded Bridging the Numeracy Gap for Students in Low SES and Indigenous Communities project being conducted by ACU and the Catholic Education Offices of Ballarat, Sale, Sandhurst and Western Australia.

“The focus of the new project is whole of community support for Aboriginal students who are at risk of not achieving early numeracy outcomes,” Dr Gervasoni said. “It involves a series of specialised lessons for small groups of students by a specialist teacher and a broader strategy to build capacity across the school context and in partnership with families, Aboriginal educators and the broader community."

Naomi Wolfe, Academic Coordinator for ACU’s Jim-baa-yer Indigenous Unit, said it was great to see Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal educators collaborating together to make a real difference.

“This project will directly assist Aboriginal kids and their families with the numeracy skills that they need in ways that are culturally appropriate,” she said.

Federal Education Minister Peter Garrett said the $24 million in funding for 15 new projects was designed to help halve the gap in literacy and numeracy for Indigenous children by 2018.

“To improve the literacy and numeracy skills of Indigenous students is a big challenge and there is a real need for schools, communities, organisations and governments to work closely together,” he said.