Victoria's first academy for Koorie students has been established in Melbourne's northern suburbs as part of the Victorian Coalition Government's efforts to help indigenous students unlock and nurture their potential.
Speaking at the official opening of the Koorie Academy of Excellence earlier this week, Minister for Education Martin Dixon said he applauded the academy's inaugural 30, year 7 and 10 indigenous students for wanting to take part in shaping their future.
"The Koorie Academy of Excellence is about nurturing the potential of the next generation of Koorie leaders through a graduated program of social, cultural and behavioural activities designed to build confidence, instil self-belief, broaden horizons and inspire dreams," Mr Dixon said.
The students were chosen from a number of schools in the northern suburbs and will take part in academy activities - such as mentoring, cultural immersion, arts and sporting events - outside of school hours.
Mr Dixon said the academy was designed to help students complete their secondary education and inspire them to pursue university or tertiary study, or employment.
"Statistics show nearly a third of Koorie students in the education department's Northern Metropolitan Region who start Year 9 are no longer in the secondary education system for the start of the following year. This attrition rate climbs to almost 50 per cent by the middle of Year 10.
"The academy is one way we are trying to change this and complements our other strategies to deliver the best possible education to Victoria's Koorie students by helping them develop a curriculum and career pathway," Mr Dixon said.
The Koorie Academy of Excellence was developed by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development's northern metropolitan region and the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc. Other partner organisations include La Trobe University, Mission Australia and the Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
A board, containing a number of Aboriginal representatives, will oversee the management and direction of the academy.
Mr Dixon said a liaison officer had been appointed to the academy to act as the conduit between students, their families and partner organisations.
He said students would have the opportunity to work both individually and collectively with the academy's liaison officer on their goals and aspirations. These goals and aspirations would then form the basis of individual plans to help the students reach their potential.
"It is wonderful to see these students willing to give up their spare time to be part of this academy and its activities," Mr Dixon said.
Mr Dixon presented the inaugural Year 7 students with an iPod touch and the Year 10 students with an iPad in recognition of their selection to the academy and to assist them with their school work and academy activities.
An additional thirty places will be made available at the academy in 2013.
Students from the following schools are involved in the Koorie Academy of Excellence:
- Charles LaTrobe P-12 Secondary College
- Northcote High School
- Montmorency Secondary College
- Brunswick Secondary College
- Thornbury High School
- Whittlesea Secondary College
- Mill Park Secondary College
- Reservoir High School
- Sunbury Secondary College
- Bundoora Secondary College