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Home-schooling program helps Indigenous kids get ahead

04-06-2016 06:00 PM CET | Science & Education

Press release from: Yissum

31 JAN 2014 - 5:54PM (SBS NEWS)

By Sarah Abo

A home-based learning program is helping families in Indigenous and
disadvantaged communities better prepare their children for their first years of
education.

The HIPPY program has improved learning by 30 per cent in some youngsters. Today, it has expanded into 25 new locations, focusing on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The two-year home based tutoring program supports parents in disadvantaged communities to prepare their youngsters for school.

Koori mother-of-three, Janine home-schooled two of her children, Jodie and Patrick, as part of HIPPY.

She says the results in the writing, spelling and language skills were immediate.
"It involves spending 15 minutes a night. It's all about having fun with it and enjoying it and if they're enjoying it then they're going to want to do it more," Janine says.

The program has strengthened their relationship and has empowered Janine too. She's now employed as an area coordinator of HIPPY.

"My mum was part of the Stolen Gens [Generations] so she brought us up as best she could, we did have issues, you know, [as a] family of 8," says daughter Jodie. "So I didn’t, ever think I'd be where I'm at today."

HIPPY originated in Israel in 1969 (and is Licensed by Yissum, Tech Transfer of the Hebrew University), and now operates in 13 countries including the United States, Germany, Austria, Argentina, Canada, El Salvador, Italy and New Zealand.

It was introduced in inner-city Melbourne 15 years ago, before growing to 50 sites across Australia. With the help of the federal government and Brotherhood of St Laurence, it's now being expanded into a further 25 locations, with a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Director of the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Tony Nicholson says the HIPPY program helps children in disadvantaged communities catch up to and surpass the standards of other children their age.

"It's one of the most outstanding programs for ensuring disadvantaged youngsters get a good start in school and it's by and large because it engages parents in the process." Assistant Education Minister Sussan Ley says HIPPY also helps boost the confidence of parents, who then go on to help other families within their community.

"And what it does is make sure that the child is equipped to deal with the world of classroom, and obviously later the world of work and participating in society."
Alice Springs grandmother Geraldine Stewart used the program to tutor two of her grandchildren who lost their mother. "I wanted my grandchildren to have an education, they'd just come from the community," Ms Stewart says.
They have now improved their English skills while maintaining their Pitjantjatjara language.

"They're six and seven now and Jodie wins awards all the time, like role model awards at the school and Jade has just excelled in her learning," she says.
"Jodie's already talking about being a teacher." Five people will be employed in the communities included in the expanded program, along the Murray-Darling River, up the eastern seaboard to Far North Queensland, in the Northern Territory and the Kimberley.

Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of
Jerusalem Ltd. was founded in 1964 to protect and commercialize the Hebrew
University’s intellectual property. Products based on Hebrew University
technologies that have been commercialized by Yissum currently generate $2
Billion in annual sales. Ranked among the top technology transfer companies
in the world, Yissum has registered over 8,500 patents covering 2,400 inventions; has licensed out 750 technologies and has spun out 90 companies. Yissum’s business partners span the globe and include companies such as Syngenta, Monsanto, Roche, Novartis, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Intel, Teva and many more. For further information please visit www.yissum.co.il.

Yissum Representative in charge of CS & IT technologies - Tamir Huberman VP Business Development & IT Director of Yissum (Technology Transfer Company of the Hebrew University)

Tamir Huberman
Hi-Tech Park, Givat Ram, PO BOX 39135
Jerusalem, Israel
91390

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