Dr Ann Jardine - Founder of ASPIRE | Aspire
Universities often reflect on what they are good at but don't spend much time on what they are good for.
The common tendency to confuse social class and academic potential labels students from disadvantaged backgrounds as unsuitable for university education.
This is a mistake.
Academic achievement is as much about circumstance and aspiration as it is about intelligence.
The opportunity to go to university should not depend on personal circumstance. The vast pool of untapped human potential in schools throughout urban, rural and remote areas of Australia cannot and should not be ignored.
Universities have a duty to ensure that everyone able to perform well at university has an opportunity to do so, regardless of their personal circumstances. Enabling those who lack social capital to have the chance of social mobility through university education is important to the whole community.
The work being done through programs such as ASPIRE brings about generational change. However, it requires
long term effort, commitment and, of course, funding. Now in our twelfth year, we hope to continue for the long term.
Educational outreach is in all our best interests. Intellectual talent can be found in the most unlikely places.
When universities reach out to harness it, the whole of society benefits.