The ASPIRE Program for Indigenous girls and young women in Western Victoria
The APIRE Program is designed to tackle poor literacy and educational outcomes for Indigenous girls and young women. Recent NAPLAN Testing indicate that Indigenous students at Year 7 are on average up to 3 reading years behind their non-Indigenous peers. This has been identified by Centrelink as the single most important reason for early leaving by Indigenous students (14 years and 6 months average). However, Griffith University Surveys found that Indigenous girls leave school even earlier and also with lower literacy skills. This might be due to cultural factors, social factors, family requirements and in northern Australia, teenage pregnancy (20%). The failure to complete school at least until Year 10, denies the student in Victoria the opportunity of undertaking TAFE, Apprenticeships, and even traineeships. As well as reducing employment prospects, poor literacy denies the student with access to information on the internet or dealing with Centrelink, Housing Commission and bills and accounts that may come to the home. Furthermore, recent Legislation in Victoria has made adequate reading skills a part of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, this makes it almost impossible for a poor reader to obtain employment.
This program will be marketed through schools and local Community Organisations including Aboriginal Co-ops and Housing Trusts, and aim to select those students who are in most in need of literacy support. Each student will be tested using ACER Diagnostic Testing and will be assigned a personal tutor. Our experience is, the best results are achieved with one on one teaching.