A partnership between Federation University and Gippsland Catholic schools will seek to enhance education for 8000-plus students.
The five-year Memorandum of Understanding will see seven secondary schools, including Lavalla Catholic College, join forces with the university to improve secondary students’ literacy skills and enrich the teacher education experience for university students.
Federation University Head of Campus Dr Harry Ballis said the partnership signalled the university’s commitment to regional education.
“For the university to be effective it has to link with its community,” Dr Ballis said.
“It’s important for the university to have close relationships with our secondary schools and (this agreement is a) real innovation, all the principals are coming together in one room, which will lead to a better outcome for all students.”
Dr Ballis said the schools would work as a team to identify and devise shared strategies to improve secondary school literacy, while ensuring the university’s graduate teachers were classroom ready.
Lavalla Catholic College principal John Freeman said the memorandum would ensure a consistent approach to learning across the Diocese of Sale Catholic Education Office’s secondary schools, while providing support for students to reach their educational goals.
“When you look at student achievement one of the critical factors is one person’s belief in themselves, and that has a major impact on the outcome they are going to achieve,” Mr Freeman said.
“We are always trying to get the students to aim high, realistically and achieve their goals.”
Both school leaders agreed the partnership would make university accessible to the region’s students.
“(This partnership) I hope will demystify university and make it familiar and accessible to all students,” Dr Ballis said.
Mr Freeman said the agreement would improve the quality of the teaching course being offered at FedUni and help secondary students see studying at the university as a genuine option “to study locally instead of feeling compelled to move elsewhere”.
Other schools involved in the partnership are Sale Catholic College, Warragul’s Marist-Sion College, Mary MacKillop Catholic Regional College – Leongatha, Bairnsdale’s Nagle College, St Peter’s College in Cranbourne and St Francis Xavier College’s Beaconsfield, Berwick and Officer campuses.