UNSW ASPIRE has received $173,000 in seed funding from the federal government for a program to improve computer literacy in its partner high schools.
By the time they are 15 years old, students from disadvantaged backgrounds – particularly in rural areas – are at least 2.5 years behind their peers in science and mathematics, and computer literacy plays an essential part.
The one-year pilot project, funded through the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program National Priorities Pool, aims to turn that situation around, by upskilling teachers and engaging high-school students in computer training.
“We’re hoping that by targeting students before they hit that critical age and boosting the fluency of teachers we can embed literacy within the school and over time build those capabilities so vital to navigating the modern world,” says ASPIRE director, Dr Ann Jardine.
The literacy pilot will be rolled out in two rural ASPIRE partner schools in 2017.
UNSW’s ASPIRE program promotes university study to primary and high school students from low socio-economic backgrounds, working with 57 local and regional partner schools across NSW.
Since its inception in 2007, ASPIRE has assisted several thousand students through in-school workshops, on-campus “taster days” and residential programs for regional students.
Sixty ASPIRE students received offers to UNSW in 2015 compared with 20 in 2010. Overall there has been a 48% increase in university offers to students from ASPIRE schools since 2010, with more than 360 students starting university in 2015.
For more information about ASPIRE, go to the website.