NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED507127
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 49
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-9214-1330-8
ISSN: ISSN-1837-0659
Cultural Dimensions of Indigenous Participation in Education and Training. NCVER Monograph Series 02/2009
Dockery, Alfred Michael
National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)
The preservation of Indigenous cultures is a controversial issue in Australia. On the one hand, the maintenance of traditional Indigenous culture has been viewed as a barrier to integration with mainstream society and the achievement of socio-economic equality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. An alternative view sees maintenance of Indigenous culture to have a value in its own right, and to be an integral component of any solution to the current plight of Indigenous people. If policy is to follow this latter view then it is important that economic and social institutions can accommodate the different values and preferences associated with Indigenous culture. Despite the importance of these issues, there is very little empirical evidence on the link between Indigenous culture and socio-economic outcomes, including educational attainment. Two critical and related empirical issues are whether Indigenous culture acts as a barrier to educational attainment, and whether the existing education and training system adequately accommodates the cultural differences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. This research seeks to address these issues by explicitly measuring Indigenous culture and exploring the links between cultural attachment and vocational education and training outcomes for Indigenous people, using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics' 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey. The results suggest that, in non-remote areas, cultural attachment is complementary with both educational attainment and participation in vocational training. Given the importance afforded to education as a means to addressing Indigenous disadvantage, this rejects the view underpinning the policies of assimilation that there is a trade-off between cultural maintenance and the achievement of mainstream socio-economic outcomes. From an equity perspective, the results also reflect positively on the sensitivity of Australia's education and training system to cultural needs. There is evidence both of education and training being pursued to enhance objectives relating to cultural maintenance, and of cultural attachment itself having an enabling effect on Indigenous people. Lower access to education and training in more remote areas does, however, disproportionately impact upon Indigenous Australians with stronger cultural attachment. Two appendices are included: (1) Factor scores (loadings) for calculating index of cultural attachment; and (2) Selected multivariate results using the hierarchical measure of cultural attachment. (Contains 16 tables and 2 footnotes.) [Funding for this document was provided through the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.]
National Centre for Vocational Education Research Ltd. P.O. Box 8288, Stational Arcade, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia. Tel: +61-8-230-8400; Fax: +61-8-212-3436; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Centre for Vocational Education Research
Identifiers - Location: Australia