Wednesday, March 09, 2005

THE REVIVAL OF LEARNING

African refugees in Australia are gradually coming to terms with the demands and challenges of the post-industrial society, through the revival of learning. They are acquiring new and relevant skills as never before. A significant number have increased their life chances, and the range of employment opportunities open to them by embracing technical and further education; focusing on the vocationally-oriented studies at all levels.

This is an exciting new development and the way forward for those refugees who are trying to make a new life in Australia, and who had long been traumatized by memories of war, famine and poverty in their countries of origin.

Now, they have made a deliberate decision not only to improve themselves in the best possible way, but also to make a positive contribution to the Australian society.

In deed, there are stories of African refugees from such countries as the Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Somali, and Gambia doing all kinds of menial work, studying English as a second or third language, adapting to the Australian way of life; developing literacy and numeracy skills in preparation for better jobs in future.

And more importantly, those refugees who hadn’t been to the university before are now seriously considering that possibility; having been given a second chance. Thanks to the “FEE-HELP” program, a new loans scheme for undergraduates, recently introduced by the Federal Government - an important equity measure, to say the least.
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