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Aboriginal school students get a taste for life at university

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The Bidjipidji School Camp Program is being run for the first time at CDU to provide Indigenous students in years 10, 11 and 12 with an opportunity to experience university life for themselves.

Aboriginal school students are being given the opportunity to experience a taste of university life at Charles Darwin University (CDU) as a part of a new school camp program.

The Bidjipidji School Camp Program held from 28 August to 1 September 2021 is a fully supervised, four-night residential program designed to provide Indigenous students in years 10, 11 and 12 with an opportunity to experience university life for themselves.

The program is coordinated by the Office of Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Leadership and Regional Outreach (OPVCILRO) to promote and encourage positive post school pathways into further education.

During the 2021 Bidjipidji school camp, students will be introduced to tertiary studies and meet fellow students from around the Northern Territory with an extensive timetable including academic sessions, cultural activities, excursions and night activities.

The Bidjipidji program aims to assist students in identifying their paths of interest and identifying the subject prerequisites required for further study in that field. The program will combine expertise from the colleges, Indigenous Leadership portfolio and industries for an all-round comprehensive and unique experience.

The program aims to nurture the leadership, growth and development of all participants with a culturally relevant, fun and engaging program of activities.

CDU Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Leadership and Regional Outreach Professor Reuben Bolt said the program empowered students to make strong decisions to help shape their future.

“The Bidjipidji School Camp Program provides an opportunity for Indigenous students in the Territory to experience our campuses,” Professor Bolt said.

“They live on campus, get to know our staff and facilities, and they visit all of the Colleges. It will have them thinking more seriously about further education and year 11 and 12 subject choice, if they are to study those areas at university.”

“Programs like this helps us to change the narrative that university study is too hard. Of course, it will require dedication and perseverance, however getting that in-depth immersion will be part of the solution.”

The students will visit CDU’s Open Day at Marrarra Stadium in Darwin on August 29 where participants will be exposed to the vast array of courses delivered by CDU including Vocational Education and Training (VET) programs and Higher Education courses.

The final day of the program is dedicated to exploring the VET courses which are available at CDU's three campuses at Darwin, Palmerston, and Alice Springs. Students will participate in VET tasters at their nearest campus centre to home.

Any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander student who is in year 10, 11 or 12 and living within the Northern Territory is eligible to apply. The program runs at no cost to the student.

CDU will arrange travel for students from Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs to its Casuarina campus in Darwin. All accommodation, meals and transport are provided for the duration of the program.

The program is held primarily on CDU’s Casuarina Campus in Darwin with excursions to other local sites.