Pasifika passion for a bright future

Parents from Pacific Island and New Zealand Maori backgrounds travelled from across Greater Western Sydney to for a recent Pasifika Parents event on campus, hosted by our Widening Participation team in collaboration with Bridges to Higher Education.

The event provided them an opportunity to ask questions about future prospects for their children who aspire to higher edutcation, and gain a better understanding of pathways to university, and access to support and financial assistance, including scholarship opportunities.

“Current statistics show students from Pacific Island backgrounds are two thirds less likely to continue on to further education than their peers,” said Donna Heemi, LEAP Project Coordinator (Schools Engagement). “Determining factors include a lack of access to HECS-HELP, often being the first in a family to attend university, and a need to contribute to the family household income earlier.“

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) Professor Sherman Young gave a warm welcome and provided background on the Bridges to Higher Education program.

“Bridges is a fantastic program which enables a range of students who may not have considered university to understand that tertiary study is an option, and an accessible one,” he said. “We all benefit when our community is built from students of diverse backgrounds.”

The Bridges collaboration between five universities in the Sydney Basin is funded by the Commonwealth Government’s Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP), and aims to improve the participation rates of students from communities under-represented in higher education.

Learn more about Widening Participation at Macquarie and about The Bridges to Higher Education scheme.