Children’s University expansion a nationwide beacon of hope for disadvantaged children
The University of Adelaide has welcomed a proposal to expand the Children’s University program nationally, offering disadvantaged children and young people greater opportunities to connect with, and be inspired by, education.
The aim of Children’s University Australasia is “to promote a love of lifelong learning through community engagement, with a particular focus on children from disadvantaged backgrounds, such as those in rural and remote locations, Indigenous communities, and lower socio-economic metropolitan areas.”
The model is based on a similar program from the UK, and was first established in Australia at the University of Adelaide in 2013. Since then, more than 5,700 children aged five to sixteen years of age have graduated from Children’s University in South Australia alone, with the program also adopted by other Australian states and territories, and in New Zealand. In total, more than 8,200 children have graduated from the program nationally.
The Australian Labor Party has committed $5 million to support an expansion of the program, to create a national Children’s University network with partners in every state and territory. The announcement has been made by ALP Senator Jenny McAllister, Shadow Assistant Minister for Families and Communities.
Rear Admiral the Hon. Kevin Scarce, AC CSC RAN (Rtd), Chancellor of Children’s University Australasia welcomed the commitment, saying every child in Australia, “regardless of background, should have the same opportunity to prosper. Education is the key to prosperity, offering young people, irrespective of their circumstances, a pathway to happier, healthier, more productive lives, and giving them the chance to realise their full potential.”
Ms Kiri Hagenus, Managing Director of Children’s University Australasia, echoed his sentiments, saying: “Since establishing Children’s University at the University of Adelaide, year after year we have seen great excitement from young people and their families. It is about creating equity of opportunity and supporting the learning journey of our participants.
“Children can only aspire to what they know exists and it is our role to create opportunities for all children to understand where the future can take them. Our fun, interactive educational program puts young people in direct contact with higher education institutions and helps to create aspirations of lifelong learning.”
Children’s University Australasia is currently operating in South Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, and this year also started in Canterbury, New Zealand.
For more information about the program, see here.