First Nations school students try their hand at college life


Students from First Nations schools across the Northern Territory are experiencing university life as part of a school camp program being held this week at Charles Darwin University (CDU).

More than 50 students from across the territory, including Tiwi, Katherine, Alice Springs, Galiwin’ku, Nhulunbuy, Maningrida and Darwin Islands, traveled to CDU’s Casuarina Campus for the Bidjipidji School Camp Program which takes takes place from August 28 to 31.

The program, now in its second year, offers First Nations students in the Territory who are in grades 10, 11 and 12 the opportunity to visit CDU and experience first-hand what university life is like.

CDU First Nations Leadership coordinates the fully supervised program with students staying at International House Darwin on CDU’s Casuarina Campus for the duration of the program.

The program promotes positive academic pathways to higher education, with students having the opportunity to participate in academic sessions, student panels, and a range of cultural activities and planned excursions.

CDU Deputy Vice Chancellor for First Nations Leadership and Engagement, Professor Reuben Bolt, said the program provides First Nations students with an important opportunity to learn about different educational pathways.

“Through the Bidjipidji School Camps program, First Nations students in the territory benefit from a fun and engaging program that will show them what college life is like and the options available to them,” said Professor Bolt. .

“Students have the opportunity to interact with CDU staff members and understand the different courses available and what they need to do to be able to study these courses at the university.”

Students will have the opportunity to explore the wide range of courses offered by CDU, including vocational education and training (VET) and higher education courses.

This year’s program will see students participate in activities including an HIVE and social work activity from the College of Health and Human Sciences, a robotics activity from the College of Engineering, Computer Science and the Environment and the opportunity to participate in business or creative arts activities.

“Programs like this are extremely important in encouraging more First Nations school students to explore higher education options and develop their leadership skills,” he said.

“This year we have six students who have already completed the program and who are coming back to participate in a leadership role, which is an achievement in itself.”

Throughout the program, students will engage with fellow students from across the territory, with the program aiming to encourage participant leadership, growth, and development in a culturally relevant and fun way.

Any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander student who is in grade 10, 11 or 12 and living in the Northern Territory is eligible to apply for the program which runs at no cost to the student. Accommodation, meals and transportation are provided for the duration of the program.

/Public release. This material from the original organization/authors may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors.


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