One year after being forced to close due to COVID-19, Mamarapha College has finally welcomed students back into its classrooms.
The government of Western Australia had imposed regional borders within its state to ensure that remote, vulnerable Indigenous communities were not exposed to coronavirus.
This, in addition to state border closures, has meant that students have not been able to attend the college physically.
During the closure, workbooks were posted out to students, but holding virtual classes was difficult, especially for the remote students with limited internet access.
Mamarapha College principal Pastor David Garrard stated that the college was able to hold Zoom classes for its four pastoral students successfully. He also said that the college is “experimenting with recording classes that can be view via YouTube or USB, if regional and state borders are reinstated.”
Having students back at the college was highly anticipated. “There was a lot of excitement for the staff and students,” explained Pastor Garrard. “We had a special prayer to thank God for His goodness and faithfulness to Mamarapha College during such a difficult time.”
The first study block has seen the arrival of 19 students, with the college confident these numbers will increase in future study blocks.
“For some students, it is a relief to be back, and it is a sign of things returning to normality,” said Australian Union Conference ATSIM director Pastor Darren Garlett.
“Some students have been waiting 12 months for this day, with one new enrolment deciding to move from Queensland to Western Australia so he could study without worrying about border closures during study blocks,” added Pastor Garlett who is also a guest lecturer at Mamarapha College.
Teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island students about the Bible, ministry, life skills and health, Mamarapha College has recently introduced a new literacy course.
“We are looking forward to the time being spent with students and seeing how they allow God’s transformational power take over their lives and the witness they will become to their families and community,” Pastor Garlett said.