About the event
We met with Robert Latta, the Branch Manager of Governance Quality and Access Branch and fourteen other DET staff in the Boardroom. At that meeting handed over the Whole of Community initiative (WCE) Final Reports, and got to know a bit more about the Department and expressed our thanks for DET’s generous support of the WCE through the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP).
The meeting gave some of the Elders a chance to introduce the community recommendations from the Evaluation Report and go through some of these in more depth. Their standing in the community and their work at a local level was pivotal to creation of an engaged community network, the undertaking of quality action research, and the design and implementation of locally-led, culturally appropriate action plans in response to priority community needs.
The Elders present spoke about the innovative nature of the WCE, the usefulness of the initiative in their communities, and their commitment to education and higher education. They stressed how important it was that they understood the aims of WCE (educational systems and language) themselves before they could begin to share that understanding across language groups and with other stakeholders in the community – and how this took time. Further, the team described a situation where they had felt that they were just gaining impetus, just starting to see positive outcomes in their community, when it was time to wind- down operations. The Evaluation report comments at length on the impacts of the short timeframe on WCE approach and outcomes.
The WCE team commented how WCE had given communities tools, resources and confidence to start addressing some of their local needs and how generally very little information about higher education and educational pathways is flowing through into the six partner communities. They also stressed how WCE was a catalyst for increased sharing of accessible information, promoted meaningful discourse on education, and delivering locally- led action for improvement. All indicators are that not only would the communities involved like to continue, but that in some cases adjacent communities have also been inspired.