Senator says Vinnies' indigenous scholarship 'sets standard'
A Canberra-Goulburn St Vincent de Paul Society innitiative designed to enhance career opportunities for indigenous students and increase the number of indigenous teachers, has been praised by Democrat Senator Aden Ridgeway.
The Catholic Voice reports that Senator Ridgeway, who launched the scholarship program at the University of Canberra, said it set the standard for the kind of partnerships that ought to be established in the future to increase the number of indigenous professionals, such as doctors and lawyers.
Scholarships will be offered next year to three indigenous students undertaking a Bachelor of Education course at the University of Canberra and another three undertaking a Bachelor of Education (Indigenous Studies) course at the Australian Catholic University.
Senator Ridgeway said the future of indigenous people in Australia relied on education. The scholarships would give them the opportunity to use the ability they already had
"This is a program about upliftment that involves restorative justice," he said. "Australians need to promote restorative justice so that problems in communities were repaired and restored. Remediation came about by helping people to fix their own problems."
At this stage the program is confined to the Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese, but Archdiocesan SVDP president Mr Russell Walls said the concept would be taken to the national council of the society in its first year "to give the idea of new scholarships for needy Australian students the national prominence it so richly deserves".