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July 11, 1979: Home tutors help migrants

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September 28, 2017

The Victorian State Coordinator of the Home Tutor Scheme Mrs Shirley Chapman (right) and member of the Shepparton branch of the Home Tutor Scheme, Mrs Margo Vibert.

The Victorian State Coordinator of the Home Tutor Scheme, Mrs Shirley Chapman, visited Shepparton this week to meet with people providing home tutoring services in this area. 

She commented how pleased she was with the Shepparton organisation.

The Shepparton Home Tutor Scheme began about five years ago. It operates around people who volunteer to tutor migrants in English. 

"It is a two pronged type of scheme", Mrs Chapman said.

"On the one hand we offer to teach basic English and on the other hand it is a cultural exchange. 

The needs and capabilities of the student is matched with those of the tutor. The scheme offers the teaching of simple basic social English to an advanced level of reading and writing skills.

The tutors travel to the students' homes.

Mrs Chapman said there was a great need for this service in the Goulburn Valley especially in the outlying areas where there are often many isolated farm houses. 

"The approach is an informal one - the tutor scheme is much a social exercise as it is an educational one."

The scheme operates from the YWCA in Maude St. It is a state wide scheme that involved about 2000 tutors, and there are no service fees. 

"Often it is the first chance Australians get to properly meet migrants, and often for the migrants it is the first introduction into the Australian community", said member of the Shepparton Tutor Scheme, Mrs Margo Vibert. 

Shepparton has 10 to 15 tutors who teach a great variety of migrants, "from nuns to farmers' wives".

Mrs Chapman is based with the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs in Melbourne.

At this week's Shepparton meeting, Tatura tutors attending a joined in the discussions about reaching out and expanding the organisation. 

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