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6 March 2012
Deakin University, Chisholm, South-West and Sunraysia TAFE Institutes today welcomed an announcement by the Minister for Higher Education and Skills and Minister for the Teaching Profession, Peter Hall, which will change the face of early child care delivery and education in regional areas.
The announcement by the minister that the Victorian Government will provide $566,680 to fund the delivery of Deakin's Bachelor of Early Childhood Education through Deakin at Your Doorstep at Rosebud, Swan Hill and Portland is good news for parents and those working in the field.
Deakin at Your Doorstep is delivered using high-speed broadband, interactive e-learning, videoconferencing and local support tutors.
For parents it means the people looking after their children in childcare centres, kindergartens and early learning centres will be highly skilled early childhood teachers.
For early childhood professionals it means they have the opportunity to do further study and comply with the new Australia-wide standard for early childhood education teachers.
Deakin University's Vice Chancellor, Professor Jane den Hollander, said the announcement was particularly timely, given changes to the minimum qualification standards for those in the field, and underscored Deakin's commitment to offer a brilliant education wherever you are.
"This is the first full degree program to be transitioned onto the Deakin at Your Doorstep program and if it is successful, which we are confident it will be, can be used for other degree programs at TAFE sites," she said.
"Developing lasting and beneficial relationships with rural and regional communities, building innovative learning platforms that respond to the needs of students who are time poor or who live at a distance from education institutions and widening access to university for students from diverse backgrounds are at the heart of the Deakin DNA.
"Deakin thus, unlike other metropolitan universities, does not discriminate between its students based on the campus where they are studying.
"A Deakin degree is a Deakin degree, with the same recognition worldwide, regardless of your pathway, whether you study at one of our regional campuses or at our metropolitan campus.
"What the Deakin at Your Doorstep program does is recognise that students studying for their first degree are more likely to be retained and succeed if they have the support of a peer group and real time, face-to-face contact with academic and support staff."
"Students tell us that they sometimes struggle to see the relevance of what they are learning at university and the workplace but the elegance of this program is that most of the learning and teaching activities will take place in the real life context," she said.
Professor den Hollander cited the story of a Deakin student and mother of three Nicole Kelly who first attended South West TAFE and then articulated to the full Bachelor of Early Childhood Education degree in Warrnambool and went on to do honours.
"Nicole has recently been awarded the Australian Postgraduate Awards Scholarship, and has commenced her full time PhD study in March 2012.
"There are many people out there like Nicole, who are looking for an opportunity and we and our TAFE partners are happy to provide it."
Chisholm Institute Chief Executive Officer, Maria Peters, said having access to these higher level qualifications means more TAFE students are likely to realise their career aspirations locally.
"Living and working in the region is no longer a barrier to undertaking a degree qualification," she said.
"The innovative partnership with Deakin offers students on the Mornington Peninsula and Bass Coast a clear pathway from the Diploma of Children's Services, with recognition for their study, to a guaranteed place in the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education program."
South West TAFE Chief Executive Officer Joe Piper said that the DAYD partnership between Deakin and the TAFE institutes will best serve Victorian regional communities.
"This announcement means a further pathway opportunity for our Portland students, providing a chance for them to further their careers in the children's services sector, whilst remaining in their community as they work towards a Bachelor degree," he said.
Chief Executive Officer at Sunraysia Institute of TAFE, Ms Win Scott, said the funding is great news for SuniTAFE students in Swan Hill.
"Through Deakin at your Doorstep we will now be able to offer an articulation pathway from their diploma into a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education – that's a fantastic opportunity,'' she said.
Deakin Media Relations
03 9246 8221/ 0422 005 485
BECE graduate and now doctoral candidate Nicole Kelly with nieces Miah (left) and Bailee (far right), daughter Aaliyah (centre) and Deakin University Vice Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander at the announcement. Photo Donna Squires.