Last year, Australia received some positive news about literacy.
Every four years, the Pirls assessment – Progress in International Reading Literacy Study – is released. This study assesses the literacy skills of 580,000 years 4 students across 50 countries. In 2017, Australia jumped to 21, from 27 in the previous 2013 study. That’s a significant improvement in a short time.
But, when you break down the findings of the report, you’ll see evidence of some enduring and even widening inequalities in our country. A disproportionate number of indigenous students and those from low socioeconomic backgrounds are stuck in a loop, unable to meet the ‘low benchmark’, year after year. There’s now research indicating that the ‘hidden cost’ of low literacy means 1 in 3 people are economically more vulnerable because of poor literacy skills. Low literacy entrenches inequality.
Jocelyn Jeloudev is a teacher who is passionate about reading and literacy. She’s devoted her career to trying to fix some of this enduring inequality in education. She began her Masters of Education (Reading and Literacy) with Torrens in 2016. Already a teacher and department head in Junior Secondary schooling, she decided it was time to go that extra mile.
“Upskilling as reading and literacy is the key to our young people living a successful life. I chose this course to further develop my skills in reading & literacy, for my Junior Secondary students & staff. Torrens was the only university to offer a masters in reading and literacy, and to me, this is the basis for everything I do in my career. I’m passionate about making the future better for young people.”
Jocelyn works as a teacher on the remote Thursday Island in the Torres Strait. She knows first-hand the difficulties remote students experience in trying to access the resources essential to improving literacy.
“I was very wary of the online experience and wasn’t sure how I would go living so far away from a university campus. I live in the Torres Strait on Thursday Island and am 1000’s of kilometers away from big name Universities on the Australian Mainland. Despite my initial concern, I have found studying at Torrens University a very fulfilling and easy process, there is always support and lecturers and success coaches are only a phone call or email away. I love my relationships with my lecturers, even though I am 1000’s of kilometers away. I found the response from my lecturers and success coaches to be very prompt and professional. Even when I was working full time and had just started my Master’s degree and had been out of university for over ten years, I could phone the library and have one to one support on small details I had forgotten since being at university. The university has simplified the process of studying and everything is at my fingertips! Literally!”
Incredibly, Jocelyn continued on with her Masters right up until the birth of her baby girl, Pearl – and then got back into study not long after. Now, that’s commitment!
“To top it all off I have recently had a little baby girl. I have been so lucky with the amazing support from Torrens University to study right up to the date of her birth and the first few weeks of her life. There has never been any question too hard for the University to answer and the support I have been provided while transitioning in different phases of my life has been world-class.”
What advice would she give to aspiring students considering a Master of Education in Reading and Literacy?
“The time is now. Reading is the key to our young peoples’ success in life. The program has been extremely supportive and beneficial to my job and I will be able to further assist my staff and students with this qualification. I highly recommend joining the Torrens University family as they are extremely supportive – having studied in Australia and America I have actually found Torrens University support far more supportive than any other university I have previously studied with.”
If you want to pursue your passion for improving literacy in Australia, check out our website for more information on the Masters of Education (Reading and Literacy).