James Cook University, Smithfield State High School and Trinity Beach Primary School are formalising an agreement that encourages students on the path from primary school through to tertiary study.
JCU’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding, Smithfield State High School Principal Mr Barry Courtney, and Trinity Beach Primary School Principal Mr Matt Denzin will sign a Memorandum of Understanding at the Cairns Convention Centre this afternoon (Tuesday 26 March).
“This agreement represents a long-term, shared commitment to encouraging local pupils to experience university while they still in primary and secondary school,” Deputy Vice-Chancellor and head of JCU’s Cairns campus, Dr Stephen Weller said.
“It has grown out of concerns that our region’s level of participation in tertiary education falls below the state average, which means that many bright students from the far north are not realising their full potential.
“It builds on an earlier agreement between JCU and Smithfield High, which has seen a 68% increase in the number of students going on to tertiary study,” Dr Weller said. “We’re very pleased to be extending a program that is already helping young people in our community build brighter futures.”
Students at the two schools who are part of the Junior and Senior Learning Academies experience university life though on-campus and at-school activities, including subject tasters and contact with JCU staff and student ambassadors.
“For students in years five and six, the sessions explore questions such as ‘What am I interested in, what do I enjoy and what am I good at’ and how university differs from school,” Dr Weller said.
“By the time they’re in years eleven and twelve, the focus is on not just which course to apply for, but also the practicalities of perhaps living away from home, balancing study, work and a social life, managing the financial side of study.
“By taking that broader approach we hope to ease the transition into tertiary study and help students make the most of their time at University.”
Professor Harding, Mr Courtney and Mr Denzin will sign the agreement at the Cairns Convention Centre at 3.30pm today (Tuesday 26 March).
Issued March 26, 2013
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