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Top award for indigenous teacher program

JCU's community-based teacher education pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has won a prestigious teaching award from the Australian Government.

Nov 20, 2012: - James Cook University’s community-based teacher education pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has won a prestigious teaching award from the Australian Government.

Ratep: Community Based Indigenous Teacher Education based in JCU’s School of Education received a $25,000 award for its “outstanding contribution” to tertiary education from the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans.

He presented the award for Programs that Enhance Learning to the Director of the program Helen McDonald at the National Gallery Australia in Canberra last night.

The award also named team members Mr Ian Hodges, Ms Gail Mitchell, Associate Professor Lyn Henderson, Mr Max Lenoy, and Ms Woendi Southwell.

Senator Evans said that the remote area teacher education program had been recognised as making an outstanding contribution to the quality of student learning and student experience in higher Education and set a benchmark for similar programs.

Senator Evans said the 2012 Australian Awards for University Teaching recognised Australia’s best higher education teachers, quality university teachers and their contributions to student learning.

“This year’s award recipients have provided a rich and rewarding experience for thousands of students across Australia who will carry that experience into their own careers,” Senator Evans said.

“Top rate university teaching goes hand-in-hand with a world-class higher education sector.

“The quality of teaching that our students receive is pivotal to the overall quality of their experience at university.”

The Pro Vice Chancellor of JCU’s Faculty of Arts, Education and Social Sciences, Professor Nola Alloway said the Ratep: Community Based Indigenous Teacher Education program was offered in partnership with the Queensland Department of Education and Training and Tropical North Queensland TAFE.

“It enables Indigenous people to remain within their local community whilst completing the requirements of the Bachelor of Education at a RATEP site or Thursday Island campus,” Professor Alloway said.

“Our School of Education has pioneered the delivery of teacher education programs to remote and regional Indigenous communities throughout Queensland.”

The program that began in 1990 delivers the Bachelor of Education through interactive multimedia course materials, combined with short on-campus sessions in Townsville. Students study the same subjects with the same lecturers as JCU students in Townsville and Cairns.

They receive additional support from Education Queensland Teacher Coordinators at each site and the School of Education Indigenous Student Support Officer.

“Professional experience is undertaken in schools in the student’s local community as well as in Townsville,” Professor Alloway said. “The success of the program can be seen in the growing number of Indigenous teachers in our region.”

“As registered teachers with a Bachelor of Education from JCU, graduates are qualified for employment as primary school teachers anywhere in Queensland and beyond.”

Contact: Professor Alloway 07 4781 6818

Issued: November 20, 2012

JCU Media: Jim O’Brien 07 4781 4822 or 0418 892449