EDUCATION, spotlight -

Children’s University nurtures love of learning

They are the Northern Territory’s littlest university graduates.

A group of youngsters recently became the first from the Territory to graduate from the Children’s University Charles Darwin as part of an international program aimed at encouraging future participation in higher education among primary school children.

Bagot community’s Kaylam Gaykamangu was one of the first Indigenous graduates, with 65 students from Driver, Manunda Terrace and Ludmilla primary schools participating in the program.

More than one-third of the children in the program were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, and included students from communities such as Barunga, Ngukurr, Anindilyakwa and the Tiwi Islands.

“Studies have shown that the Children’s University has had a positive impact on school attendance and retention, and students then pursuing higher education,” Children’s University Charles Darwin program coordinator Virginia Spicer-Harden said.

“They had to visit learning destinations such as Parliament House, libraries and the museum, and clock up 30 hours of learning outside of school hours to graduate. It encourages the children to get out and about to learn new things and helps foster the love for learning from a young age.”

Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Engagement and Success Professor Philip Seltsikas said the voluntary program was delivered in partnership with schools, parents and a range of learning destinations in Darwin and Palmerston.

Children’s University, owned globally by the Children’s University Trust, was established in the United Kingdom in the early 1990s. Children’s University Australia was launched in 2013 at the University of Adelaide.

By Wendy Caccetta

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