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Achieving Tertiary Success by Catherine Maughan 11 October 2013

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ndigenous students from Queensland are travelling to the NT to turn their academic dreams into reality thanks to a program designed to prepare them for success at university and TAFE. Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education recently acknowledged the achievements of 26 students who completed the Preparation for Tertiary Success (PTS) course. PTS is just one of the courses delivered by the Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Education (ACIKE), a joint partnership between Batchelor Institute and Charles Darwin University (CDU). Now these PTS graduates are continuing to experience success as students enrolled in degrees of education, health and linguistics. The ACIKE mixed mode (workshops plus online) delivery model allows Indigenous people from all over Australia to study courses at the Desert Peoples Centre in Alice Springs. Jeffrey Weatherall of Mungindi said: “I enjoyed the residential as well. The Aboriginal staff were really good and made me feel comfortable. Being so far away from home I didn’t know what to expect but when I got there everyone was nice and friendly. When you feel comfortable and happy it makes you want to stay there and keep studying.” Jeffrey James (pictured), a young Torres Strait Islander man, finished PTS in 2012. This year he has been studying an ACIKE bachelor degree. “Now I’ve nearly finished my first year of uni I have worked out that really I want to become an expert in my language. My dad

always spoke to me in Meriam and now he’s passed I’m really worried that I will lose the language.” Jeffrey’s goal is to contribute to the revival of Meriam because it is an endangered language. “My language is my identity. Without it I would lose a huge part of who I am” Jeffrey said. ACIKE courses have multiple study options that allow students to combine study with other commitments such as family and work. Nursing student Ceah David from Brisbane said: “I juggle my study with work which was really hard when I was trying to study fully externally. I like the mixed mode better because the workshops allow me to work really hard and get as much done as I can before I have to come back to full-time work. I also find it helps to get a feel for what the lecturers want. I started with the mixed mode in PTS and I’m glad I can continue with that now I’m doing my nursing degree.”

Jeffrey Weatherall wants to see more people do PTS. “I love the PTS course and I’ve been doing my best to spread the word and let people know about it. Everything is paid for so there are no excuses financially. People have got to get in there and do something if they want change. You have to realise change cannot happen from your couch. So get out there and do something about it instead of just talking about it! That’s what I did and that’s what I’m still doing now.” Applications are now open (www.acike.edu.au) for people who want to study in 2014. To discuss your ACIKE study options contact ACIKE directly on Freecall 1800 061 963 or email: study@acike.edu. au Alternatively, if you wish to speak with an Academic Advisor at the Batchelor Institute Student Support Unit, contact Freecall 1800 677 095 or email: enquiries@ batchelor.edu.au

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Achieving tertiary success