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8 September 2011
Deakin University's Institute of Koorie Education yesterday (7 September) celebrated its 25th anniversary.
The Institute, based in Geelong, which proudly states that there is no Aboriginal family in Victoria which has not been linked to a graduate from the University, has come a long way from its early days when it was one portable classroom and one discipline to now offering programs from Arts and Education to Business and Law, Health, Nursing and Behavioural Sciences and Science and Technology.
The Institute now offers more than 18 Faculty degrees at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels and is the destination of choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia.
It also has three of the state's six Aboriginal Professors.
The Vice-Chancellor of Deakin University, Professor Jane den Hollander, paid tribute to the work of the Institute's Director, Professor Wendy Brabham, and all of her staff, for making the Institute such a success.
"We all know that any organisation's success is not only founded on having wonderful buildings and facilities such as the Kitjarra Residences, and the new buildings that we have planned for the Institute; it needs people," she said.
"Under the leadership of Professor Brabham and her staff and the partnership between the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated and the Elders across Victoria much has been achieved.
"Back in 1987, the forerunner to the Institute, the Koorie Teacher Education Program, graduated four students.
"The number of students graduating has risen steadily over the 25 year period, as has the number of courses offered through the Institute, and 38 students graduated in 2010.
"From 1987 to 2010 nearly 600 students have graduated - a remarkable achievement.
"I am delighted to see a good many of these graduates here today to help us celebrate this milestone."
Professor den Hollander said Deakin University had the highest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student load of any university in Victoria, and the sixth highest load of any university in Australia.
Professor Brabham said the Institute of Koorie Education at Deakin University had been a continuous fixture on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander higher education landscape.
"As the Institute celebrates its 25th year it has migrated from a relocatable at the back of the property offering one program to being one of the largest providers in the country, offering over 20 distinct undergraduate, postgraduate and HDR programs and about to embark on a $12.2 million refurbishment of Teaching, Learning and Research premises," she said.
"Every day is a celebration for our students and for our communities, for what they and their families have been able to achieve through the Higher Education Agreement between Deakin University and the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated.
"With the establishment of Institute of Koorie Education, Deakin University continues to change the landscape of Aboriginal employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia," she said.
"It does this by providing opportunities for Aboriginal people to get a degree through a specialised community based delivery model.
"Students stay in their communities and continue their family, working and community roles while undertaking their studies."
Professor Brabham said teaching, learning and a community empowered research agenda are the core business of the Institute of Koorie Education.
"The Institute of Koorie Education at Deakin operates as a 'one stop shop' that incorporates support and delivery mechanisms that not only cover recruitment, retention and completion but also intensive workshops, academic delivery, Laptop Loan Scheme, general finance/ABSTUDY advice, travel infrastructure and state of the art residential services," she said.
"This arrangement is encapsulated in the 'Community Based Delivery (CBD)' model.
"This therefore facilitates a holistic delivery that has been honed over the years to a sophisticated level that has been recognised as the Institute of Koorie Education at Deakin brand both nationally and internationally."
The Institute of Koorie Education currently has enrolments of more than 550 students equating to around 300 equivalent full time student load.
This level of enrolments also means that Deakin's participation rate, that is, the proportion of all students who have identified as Indigenous, is 1.76 per cent; way above the Victorian state participation rate of 0.64 per cent and the sector participation rate of 1.35 per cent.
It also means that Deakin's participation ratio of 3.09 is much higher than the Victorian ratio of 1.12 and the sector ratio of 0.62, the reference value for this ratio being the proportion of Indigenous persons in the general population aged 15 to 64.
Deakin Media Relations
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