Compass Points West

14 February 2012

The University of Sydney is joining forces with the University of Adelaide to encourage more children in Adelaide's northern primary schools to consider attending university.

A new program, Adelaide Compass, is being established in Adelaide's north with a pilot program at Mark Oliphant College, before being rolled out to other schools in the Peachey Belt Cluster of northern Adelaide.

Adelaide Compass is an extension of the University of Sydney's Compass - find your way to higher education program. An agreement to work together to implement Adelaide Compass will be signed by both universities at Mark Oliphant College today.

The program, for school teachers and students, will deliver outreach, mentoring and professional development, with the aim of building school completion rates and attainment, lifting community expectation and helping children aim for higher education in the future.

University of Sydney Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) Professor Derrick Armstrong said, "Social inclusion in higher education requires generational change. It is exciting that the University of Adelaide has embarked on this venture with northern Adelaide schools."

"I am especially delighted as this is the first time our program has extended its reach interstate, which is a wonderful development that we hope to continue.

"At the University of Sydney we have learnt a great deal about ourselves and the communities we work with through our engagement in the Compass program. We look forward to continuing to this learning experience and to our collaboration with the University of Adelaide."

Adelaide Compass will build familiarity between schools and university campuses, staff and students through exchange visits with all activities being supported in class within the curriculum.

The two universities will share research, data and results to be able to evaluate and further develop the program.

University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor and President Professor James McWha said, "Research shows that it's vital to start working with children at a much younger age to get them excited about life-long learning and university education, to start building a pathway towards university."

"The University of Sydney has had great success with their Compass program and we want to use that model to help raise aspirations in Adelaide's northern suburbs where many families have never had anyone at university, and it often doesn't even feature as a possibility, never mind being seen as achievable.

"We know the benefits that university education brings to individuals and to Australia and we are very keen to open up that choice to every child."