Aussie university to build nation's first indigenous residential college

Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-14 13:59:19|Editor: mmm
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SYDNEY, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) announced a plan on Friday to build Australia's first indigenous residential college, to encourage more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students into tertiary education.

The proposed 100 million Australian (71.9 million U.S.) dollar facility is set to house 250 residents at a site near their central Sydney campus.

While one third of the funding provided will come from UTS, the New South Wales State government is expected to offer 10 million Australian (7.2 million U.S.) dollars for the project and the Federal Labor Party has pledged a further 20 million Australian (14.4 million U.S.) dollars if they win the next election.

The remaining 37 million Australian (26.6 million U.S.) dollars is expected to raised through a donation program.

With Indigenous Australians making up just 1.7 percent of all university students down under, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for indigenous leadership and engagement at UTS, Michael McDaniel, said the college will represent the "evolution of Australia" as a society.

"We've gone from viewing our indigenous people as the unwanted. And what's happened is we've survived and in our own gentle and gracious way we've actually turned the nation's thinking around," he said.

"This college is the symbol of the culmination of that. Now we believe it's good and proper for indigenous people to have a world-class college and its an opportunity where indigenous people can be the hosts, not the guests, in our own country."

Once funding for the initiative is secured UTS will consult with local indigenous group to develop a design plan for the building, which is expected to be opened in 2022.

"It's an incredibly powerful thing we can do to reduce disadvantage in this country," education spokeswoman for the federal Labor Party Tanya Plibersek said.