Pasifika Achievement To Higher Education (PATHE)
PATHE promotes the ability and options for Pacific people to develop and gain new skills and new knowledge, leading to greater opportunities across life.
PATHE is one of the many Widening Participation initiatives at the University of Western Sydney, funded by HEPPP working with LSES communities. Within their unique culture, low career aspirations are evident across Pacific communities; demographically their members are employed in the low skilled labour market, and are further disadvantaged by over-representation of Pacific people in the criminal justice system.
PATHE strives to develop capacity across Pacific communities in Greater Western Sydney by increasing awareness and positive attitudes towards lifelong learning. The need to engender cultural, vocational and career aspirations – by working collaboratively with young people and their families – is vital in seeking to address this problem. There are 120 primary and high schools and community groups receiving direct support, targeting over 15,000 young people through culturally appropriate and interactive workshops.
PATHE’s main objectives are:
- to raise educational aspirations for primary and high school students from a Pacific island background in Greater Western Sydney, and
- for students to complete year 12 education and progress on to tertiary education.
These objectives are achieved by using student ambassadors from a Pacific island background as mentors and facilitators within the program.
PATHE has been fully funded by HEPPP from 2012, and 100% of participants attend a school in an area with a LSES background. HEPPP funds are used to employ three staff as project managers and facilitators. These staff come from a Pacific island background, and work in partnership with schools, teachers and community workers through a specialised program of in-school workshops for students and teachers, university campus tours and community festivals. Social media has been leveraged to regularly reach the target group of students and keep them up to date with activities and events.
The success of the PATHE program is measured by the number of students attending PATHE events, and tracking attendance to university and TAFE enrolment figures, with the local schools’ involvement. Social media site involvement and community participation figures are also analysed. The program commenced in 2012.
PATHE is involving students from years 5 to 12 to develop a scaffolded learning program which is continuously evaluated using feedback from participants, with the objective of constantly improving the university’s student access and retention programs.