Increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in higher education

A new website and television series have been developed in partnership with the University of Western Sydney to improve Indigenous education outcomes in communities and schools across New South Wales.

The Make Your Mark website is now online to provide vital background information about further education to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families navigate their options and see how education can help them achieve their individual life goals and benefit the wider community.

Make Your Mark is produced by Bridges to Higher Education, a consortium of five NSW Universities including the University of Western Sydney, in conjunction with Universities Admissions Centre (opens in a new window) NSW and ACT.

The Chair of Bridges to Higher Education Annette Cairnduff says there are many questions facing students from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait background who may be the first in their family to study beyond school.

"We know that for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, particularly those with no experience of further education, sending their child off to higher education can be daunting,” she says.

“Make Your Mark gives them information to explore their options and the answer to the first question - Where do I start?"

To bring to life the transformative of people from Indigenous backgrounds, Television Sydney, based at UWS Penrith campus, has developed the new TV Series Indigenous Models of Achievement.

Television Sydney Chief Executive Rachel Bentley says the program not only showcases everyday people describing their personal journeys in their own words, it demonstrates to the audience that anything is possible.

“Many people feel there are hurdles in the path to higher education, but the students and graduates in this series show they can be overcome,” she says.

“These inspirational people have become role models in their communities through their tenacity and determination to succeed.”

These two new initiatives come after research (opens in a new window) by KPMG analysing Bridges to Higher Education programs found that engagement is the key to changing the attitudes of both students and parents towards higher education.

Across all projects targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, teachers reported that 97 per cent of students showed improvement in their learning progress after participating in Bridges activities. Furthermore, 84 per cent of students reported an increase in their academic abilities.


15 May 2014

Contact: Mark Smith, Senior Media Officer