Goal 4: Quality Education

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

The University of Wollongong is committed to working towards the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through its governance, teaching and learning, community engagement, partnerships and research. The following initiatives are by UOW staff and students working towards SDG 4: Quality Education.

Community events

UOW runs a wide range of public events and activities to make research more accessible to the wider community. From TEDxUWollongong, the Big Ideas Festival, Uni in the Brewery to Three Minute Thesis, UOW hosts a variety of research-focused events each year. The Big Ideas Festival attracted over 600 people from the Wollongong community to the University in 2019 and 538 viewed the event via Facebook live stream.

Outreach and school programs

Our outreach and school programs start working with students in high school and on to vocational pathways or university, to ensure their successful journey through higher education. Connection with these students enables their transition and success at university, by providing peer support and coaching, mentoring and academic skill-building.

Find out more about the Outreach and Schools Programs

The University of Wollongong is a regional based institution with a very diverse cohort of students. The University has a proud history of working closely with its communities to drive increased participation and attainment among underrepresented groups in higher education. Our outreach programs work with students from year one all the way through to year 12 from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. These students have higher aspirations but face many barriers which means taking their step into higher education harder the students from their cohort at school. They can be the first in their family to attend University, moving out of home from rural or remote areas their, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
descent or face significant social and financial disadvantages.

Our aim is to ensure that individuals regardless of their background have the opportunity to access higher education through building their confidence, their ability to navigate their protocol options and help deliver a seamless transition into University. I went to our own high school which is a low socio-economic school so I've experienced firsthand what it's
like to play some of those barriers that you get at a low socioeconomic school. These are the sorts of barriers that make you think you're never going to make it to but it's these kids that realise that we have to work that little bit harder to be able to get to where we want to go and that's a sort of mindset and skillset that really helps you to succeed at uni. There's an enormous amount of research that shows that there are people with significant capability who are not being able to access and participate in higher education and the
University of Wollongong is absolutely committed to widening participation and to opening access and participation to those groups of people. A strong commitment of the university is to increase our equity students to twenty one percent of the student population now that's significantly above the national average which is at sixteen percent. So critical to our success are the partnerships that we have with the community and with the schools and the way in which we then develop appropriate entry pathways for students so that they can be successful in higher education.

The University of Wollongong also has transition programs that really enable these students to reach their full potential and to be successful in their higher education studies there's no
question that these students are academically capable of succeeding at University. On average 87% of the year twelve students who complete our outreach programs receive an early admission offer to University of Wollongong each year. This may be why we've seen a 47 percent increase in students going onto University from our region since the outreach program started. Students who continue on to University of Wollongong are generally retained at a higher rate than other students with many excelling in their university studies. We have had countless students go on to dean scholars degrees taking internships across the globe and starting careers in innovative and research driven fields. I always knew that I wanted to go to university but I never knew enough about it I didn't have any family that I could go to and speak about what it was like or what would be required of me. I was always a really good student at school I picked up content really easily I didn't require much effort to do assignments I got everything done when I needed but I never really understood how that was going to relate to University. Everyone always spoke to me about how University was like really big and bad and scary and so I was quite nervous about what that would be into for the
future because I still wanted to go to university I was lucky enough to get off for the position in the summer master classes and that was everything I probably needed to understand University.
I don't know whether I want to be an academic and study more at university or maybe do some work the Productivity Commission or the Reserve Bank or something along
those lines. If you want something and you have the desire to go and get something you'll be able to get there you'll be able to find some way to get to where you want to go in the future. That's really cool. UOW is committed to providing a supportive and accessible environment for all equity students. 

Early Start Research

Early Start’s Research conducts world class, evidence-based research that drives government policy, and assists industry professionals and the broader public in making informed educational decisions for policy and practice. The institutes’ research aims to overcome disadvantage and impact the lives of children, youth, and families.

Find out more about Early Start Research

We want to see each child reach their full potential in life. It's the only children's discovery space in the world that's located on university campus. Our work is concentrated on those in rural and remote communities working with vulnerable children who live in challenging circumstances.
Research around experiential learning and it's giving them the best possible chance to succeed.

Future Makers

The Future Makers research team is engaging a community of ‘makers’ from high school students and primary teachers, to entrepreneurs through to retired steelworkers. The space brings a community of makers together offering an engaging learning experience centred around STEM education, recycling and sustainability. The research project is evaluating whether ‘making’ activities can enhance STEM education by encouraging interest and improving outcomes.

Read more about Future Makers

Future Makers project is looking really at the interaction between people and technology. The technology is around new types new ways of making things like 3D printers, computer-based design and so on. But it’s really about humans interact, people interact with that technology that's critically important. So that's why it's important in our research team we have a interdisciplinary mix of of researchers involved.

One of the main goals of the research that we're working towards is sustainability of makerspaces. Not only can they be used to develop new products but that we can repair and recycle the existing parts that are broken or create new parts from old things and this contributes to the whole overall project as we're looking at the impact of makerspaces on society.

We work on the education component of phe project. The overarching goal is to understand the way that that young people and children and teachers work in makerspaces but we really looking for particularly is opportunities to enable STEM knowledges but what are the barriers in the space and understanding this is really important for developing educational programs that build STEM knowledges and knowledges around science and technology for all students. We have noticed how people see the way they can use things in here in the existing world and then we are looking at ways where people can imagine future scenarios and try to think about how the technologies and the materials in here we use in that future scenario. ?

How can we build on that legacy of making? How can we kind of engage those communities and bring them into the space? So how can we connect to those sort of older cultures of making maintenance repair into some of the newer ideas that are coming out around making? At the moment I'm working with Dr Louise Smith from ASHRI and we're working together with the Blue Haven Care home down in Kiama. So some of what we've been doing is working with the residents and selves with the canteens and families using arts based methods and making things so that they can think or carefully about what it means to be at home and about memory for the residents.

We bring people together with different backgrounds and get them to work collaboratively but also with access to sophisticated making equipment, to help them bring their ideas to reality, to do the prototyping and to take that technology to the benefit of the community as quickly as possible.


Science Space

Established in 1989, Science Space is the only dedicated science experience in NSW and is a place where anyone, young and old, can come and see how science and technology discoveries have become reality. It is a place to be inspired about what the future holds and is founded upon the principles of education, hands-on learning and accessibility.

Visit the Science Space website

Peer Assisted Study Sessions

Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) provide a learning atmosphere which differs from the traditional tutorial environment. Hundreds of staff from dozens of institutions around the Australasian region have benefited from training and assistance delivered by PASS@UOW. Over 30,000 students have participated in PASS and evidence shows that a student that attends attains higher marks and is less likely to fail or withdraw from a subject. 

Need help? You've got it. At UOW you can find a wide range of free academic support and services.  Looking for subject specific help? Want to improve your grades? Attending PASS regularly can help increase your grade.

PASS offers free one-hour weekly peer assisted study sessions that helped consolidate content covered in your lectures and tutorials. PASS sessions are facilitated by trained, senior students who have excelled in the subject. It's also a great space to meet like-minded people in your course. Running from week two to the end of session you can enroll in PASS via SOLS or if there’s room just turn up. Everyone is welcome and it's never too late to start. You can attend pass at any point during the semester.

Some sessions are even offered online if you can't make it to campus. To find out more and view the timetable visit the pass website. Good luck with your studies and see you at pass.

Leading Through Culture Program

A collaboration between UOW and the NSW Department of Education, the Leading Through Culture Program is embedded with cultural knowledge and activities, whilst also fostering leadership capabilities through engaging in UOW faculty workshops. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Year 9 students across selected In2Uni high schools are invited to participate in a 2 day on-campus cultural leadership program. Students complete the program by using the concept of design thinking to take part in a collaborative Leadership Action Project within their school community.  

iAccelerate educate ‘Activate’ program

The iAccelerate educate ‘Activate’ program encourages start-ups to align their purpose with the Global Goals. The ‘Introduction to Sustainable Development Goals’ modules led by facilitator Dr Belinda Gibbons, introduces start-ups to UN SDG resources to identify ways in which a start-up’s value proposition aligns with the UN SDGs. iAccelerate has had interest from Global Honours Program students and resident philosophy students who are interested particularly in the SDG module of the overall Activate program.

Koori Aspirations Program

The aim of the Koori Aspirations Program is to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students in the South Western Sydney, Southern Highlands and Wollongong regions to build their awareness of, and aspirations towards higher education and other post school options. By participating in the Koori Aspirations Program, students will be equipped to make improved career and pathway decisions to prepare them for life beyond school. 

Learning Labs

Learning Labs is designed for motivated and passionate learners who are performing excellently in their area of interest. Learning Labs offers workshops during the school holidays covering a range of interest areas. Workshops are challenging, as well as fun, and are a place where students can meet like-minded peers.

Digital Child

UOW researchers are contributing to world-first research to understand the impact of digital technology on children. The results of this research will benefit parents and inform improvements to children’s health and education policy. It brings together expertise from six Australian universities, along with 33 academic and industry partner organisations from Australia, Europe, Asia and America. 

SDG Subjects and Courses

UOW is actively working towards incorporating the SDGs into our educational offerings. This will ensure that our students are well informed global citizens that can continue to contribute to realising sustainable development throughout their studies and careers.

VIEW SDG Subjects and Courses

If you know of a UOW project or initiative that's working toward this SDG please let us know. For more information email sdgs-uow@uow.edu.au.

Latest news

iAccelerate Activate program with Sabine Straver, Educate Program Manager, iAccelerate
Yarning circle with UOW Outreach staff and school students