The Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, today announced that the Government will provide $132,000 to the Charlie Perkins Trust for Children and Students which will give two talented Indigenous Australians the opportunity to study at the University of Oxford for up to three years.
Ms Gillard said the Rudd Government was pleased to be able to provide assistance for the Charlie Perkins Scholarships which will cover living expenses, air fares and all tuition fees for the two scholars to commence at the University during the 2010/11 academic year.
The British Government and Rio Tinto will also provide funding for the scholarships, for what the Charlie Perkins Trust believes will be the first Indigenous Australians to study at Oxford.
The scholarships are aimed at postgraduate study, and the Charlie Perkins Trust will visit Australian universities and publicise the scholarships widely to encourage students to apply.
The Trust was established in memory of Charlie Perkins to establish a scholarship scheme which will give Indigenous Australians the opportunity to study at the University of Oxford.
Mr Perkins played soccer professionally in the UK in the late 1950s and was inspired during a game against Oxford University to turn his back on the opportunity to play for Manchester United and return home to attempt to go to university. At the time he had not finished high school. In 1966 he became the first Indigenous Australian man to graduate from university when he received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney.
The Rudd Government is determined to help Close the Gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in education, including by assisting important initiatives such as Charlie Perkins Trust scholarships.
Further information can be found on the Charlie Perkins Trust for Children and Students website.