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Bachelor of Commerce 1999
For graduate Achini Kanathigoda, the decision to come to Australia from Sri Lanka to undertake tertiary studies has proven a very wise one.
Achini completed her Bachelor of Commerce in 1999 at the Melbourne Campus at Burwood. However, she explained that she may have been lost to the United States had it not been for her pre-enrolment experience at Deakin University.
'It was really a choice of going to the USA or coming to Australia to study. However I chose Deakin as I had a good feeling from the outset. Deakin offered me the most advance credits for my studies with the Institute of Technological Studies in Sri Lanka. Importantly Deakin staff were interested in what I wanted to do, were sincere, followed through and offered me the subjects that I wanted study. It was a very thorough process and I knew I would be in good hands by going there.'
Now a Senior Policy Analyst with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) in Victoria, Achini is pursuing her passion for improving education standards in the Victorian community.
'I enjoy working in the public sector because I am serving the community. I am passionate about improving educational outcomes and believe that the Department of Education is playing a very important role in creating opportunities for all children to receive a quality eduction which then lays a good foundation for their future as well as for the State of Victoria. I enjoy working with committed people who are more driven by achieving good outcomes for the community rather than by the dollar.
'My work involves the implementation of the Schools Accountability and Improvement Framework. The Framework was developed in response to Flagship Strategy 6, School Improvement, of the Blueprint for Government Schools by the Victorian Government. The strategy called for a flexible school improvement and accountability framework that is responsive to school needs and focuses on improving outcomes for Victorian schools and students. I am involved in the policy implementation and project management of strategic planning and implementation planning of schools.
'Recently I was given the responsibility of managing the School Review program for the DEECD. The program is designed to provide an expert, independent analysis of current school performance and practice and to advise on appropriate goals, targets and improvement strategies that will help shape the school's strategic planning,' she said.
Achini said that her experience with Deakin was an enjoyable one and underpinned by the opportunity to be involved in various extra-curricular activities on campus.
'What did I enjoy about Deakin you ask? I enjoyed everything! The course was intellectually stimulating, the lecturers were approachable and challenged me to give my best efforts (I still keep in touch with them to this day) and the atmosphere at Burwood was very conducive to learning. Having done my postgraduate studies in other institutions both here and abroad, I am of the strong view that I learned more from my studies at Deakin,' she explained.
'I was also actively involved in the Peer Support Program (PSP) for International Students where I volunteered to help new international students settle into university as I wanted to give something back to Deakin. I eventually became a coordinator of the PSP and was also responsible for setting up the International Students Society and became Vice President. I was also a sessional tutor in Human Resource Management.
'Overall my course encouraged me to think strategically about my work and enhance my conceptual and analytical skills. It increased my confidence and gave me a great platform to launch my career here in Australia.'
As for the future Achini plans to continue to progress her career with DEECD and eventually start her own consultancy firm in coming years to support HR professionals in career coaching, career counselling, training and development. She hopes this consultancy business may even expand to her homeland of Sri Lanka.