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Alice lecturers poised for academic year in Outback

By Patrick Nelson

John Bateup inspects the MALU before its departure to Titjikala in the Simpsons Desert John Bateup inspects the MALU before its departure to Titjikala in the Simpsons Desert

Several of Charles Darwin University’s Alice Springs based lecturers are poised for long journeys into the Territory Outback as the academic year gets underway this month.

Lecturers will depart for Haasts Bluff, Ti Tree, Titjikala, Wadeye, Areyonga, Tennant Creek and Yulara to deliver vocational education and training programs in business, automotive technology, ceramics, music, conservation land management, tour guiding and others.

Among them is John Bateup, who will spend the next three weeks in Titjikala, a community nestled among the red sand dunes of the Simpson Desert, about 100km south of Alice Springs.

“It was the enthusiasm from the students that impressed me most when I stayed there last year and I’m expecting it will be similar this time,” Mr Bateup said.

“The community and the (MacDonnell Regional) council are committed to education and there is a group of aspiring students who are eager to learn.”

Mr Bateup, who has about 20 years’ experience as an educator across Northern Australia and the Outback, will deliver certificate courses in business from a mobile adult learning unit (MALU), a simple but solid transportable classroom built to withstand the rugged extremes of remote Australia.

“It was trucked to the community on Saturday after having been overhauled in Alice Springs recently. The generator was serviced and some minor repairs were done to its exterior.”

Mr Bateup said the MALU provided an important focal point whenever it was taken to a community or remote town.

“We took it to Titjikala, Finke, Mutitjulu, Docker River and Santa Teresa last year and it is booked for the same five communities this year.

"It’s a vital element in remote education and an excellent facility for the 100-plus remote students who benefit from it each year."