Aboriginal staff working for the Department of Education now have the opportunity to become school teachers as part of a new program with Curtin University.
Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery was at Curtin University today where the current Department of Education staff members – who are the first participants of the pilot program to study a Bachelor of Education – were completing their three-day orientation.
The Bachelor of Education course will be delivered primarily online for the 30 women and three men who will study part-time while continuing to work.
These staff members are currently employed by the Department as Aboriginal and Islander Education Officers, or in a range of support roles in primary and secondary schools in rural and remote areas and the metropolitan area.
Twenty-one participants are from schools in the Kimberley; six are from schools in the Pilbara; four are from schools in the Mid-West; and there is one participant from a school in the Wheatbelt and one from a school in the South Metropolitan region.
The participants had to meet relevant criteria to be accepted into the Bachelor of Education and had to provide endorsement from their school principals to take part.
Support will be provided by staff from Curtin University and participants will also have teacher mentors from their schools in addition to online support.
Participants are expected to complete the pilot course over a minimum period of five years.
As stated by Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery:
“We want our Aboriginal students to be confident and successful learners as well as provide greater opportunities for our Aboriginal school staff.
“Therefore, I’m pleased this exciting new program with Curtin University will give staff more options in their education careers.
“The 33 participants come from schools all over the State – the Kimberley, Midwest, Pilbara, Wheatbelt and the metropolitan area – and will continue their important work at schools while they study part-time.
“Curtin University has a history of supporting Aboriginal students to undertake higher education, and I’m delighted we can work together to increase the number of Aboriginal teachers we have working in our public schools.”
As stated by Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt:
“This is an innovative program that will allow Aboriginal Western Australians from across the State to begin their teaching journey.
“The majority of these participants are employed as Aboriginal and Islander Education Officers while four are in other important roles – all providing vital support to young Aboriginal students.
“They are well placed to undertake further training to become school teachers and this program presents a big opportunity to do so, while maintaining employment as they undertake their study.”