James Cook University has enhanced its reputation as a leader in Indigenous education with a new course offering Torres Strait Islanders the chance to become qualified teachers.
The Bachelor of Education (Primary) is now offered from JCU’s Thursday Island campus.
Helen McDonald, Director of RATEP’s Community Based Indigenous Teacher Education and Senior Lecturer in Social and Environmental Education and Curriculum, said it was a giant leap forward for those keen to study in the region.
“This means that Torres Strait Islanders who wish to become teachers can undertake a professional degree without leaving home,” she said.
“This new program was initiated by the Torres Strait Regional Education Council to encourage young Torres Strait Islanders to become confident teaching professionals and future leaders.”
Ms McDonald said students would study the same subjects with the same lecturers as education students in Townsville and Cairns and would also have the support of Education Queensland teacher coordinators on Thursday Island.
“Students will have access to online study materials and will be able to study with other students based on Thursday Island, as well as students in Townsville and Cairns,” she said.
Ms McDonald said students who had completed Year 12 with an OP score could apply to enter the Bachelor of Education directly through QTAC.
However, Torres Strait Islanders who did not have an OP score could apply to enrol in both a Tertiary Access Course and the Bachelor of Education concurrently.
“This will give them the opportunity to develop the skills and competencies to successfully complete a university course,” Ms McDonald said.
“Students who graduate with a Bachelor of Education are qualified to teach in state, Catholic and independent schools in Queensland and beyond.
“However, their insights as Torres Strait Islanders and professional educators will ensure they make an invaluable contribution to the future of children in the Torres Strait.”
Ms McDonald said JCU had been a leader in Indigenous teacher education for more than 30 years.
“JCU has produced more than 500 graduates. Today, these Indigenous graduates continue to make a difference not only as teachers, but also as school principals, university academics, policy advisors and education administrators.
“We look forward to seeing more Torres Strait Islanders taking up the challenge of making a difference through teaching.”
Applications to start the combined Bachelor of Education and Tertiary Access Course in July 2011 are now being accepted.
Issued: 12 May, 2011