Development and implementation of a tertiary course for Koori/Murri students

Year: 1990

Author: Howard, Peter

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This is a preliminary paper based on my experiences as a Course Co- ordinator in the development and implementation of a tertiary course for Koori/Murri students. The examples given on the difficulties faced by Koori/Murri people in making the decision to commence study at a tertiary institution are based on some of the problems faced by a group of 22 people and the tertiary institution during the last 6 months of 1988 and the first 6 months of 1989. The course is an external teacher development course for Aboriginal people ranging in age from 20 to 50 years. The course is community based with students having 2 week-end lecture workshops in a regional centre and a 2 week residential in Sydney each semester. It is not possible to generalise every difficulty experienced to all Koori/Murri people. Many face individual problems as do all students but my involvement has taught me that there are difficulties to be faced by Kooris and Murris that I am becoming aware of but did not fully appreciate.It may be that this growing awareness of the difficulties experienced by Koori/Murri students and a conserted effort by tertiary institutions to overcome them that has lead to an increasing number of Aboriginal students enrolling in tertiary courses. The purpose of this paper is to discuss these difficulties for others to become more aware and sensitive to the many personal, family, community and historical difficulties that need to be addressed for equal access for Aboriginal people to tertiary study. These difficulties are not confined to the Aboriginal people and their communities but also to the institutions that offer tertiary courses to the Koori/Murri people. The difficulties discussed need to be recognised as factors in Aboriginal people not entering or withdrawing from courses They are not put in any priority for any one of them may cause a student to not begin or to withdraw from a course.Most are not completely solved but remain as difficulties that could arise for students at any time during their course.