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ERIC Number: ED534393
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 40
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 27
Australian Directions in Indigenous Education 2005-2008
Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (NJ1)
The educational outcomes of Indigenous Australians have improved over recent decades. This is evident across a range of indicators on the enrolment, participation and achievement of Indigenous students in the early childhood education and school sectors. There has also been increased representation of Indigenous students in New Apprenticeships and strong growth of Indigenous enrolments in the vocational education and training (VET) and tertiary sectors. Despite some gains, Indigenous Australians are yet to achieve equitable outcomes. Many Indigenous students continue to "drop out" at or before Year 10 and far too few remain at school to complete Year 11 and Year 12, or its vocational equivalent. Of those who do complete Year 12, few obtain the scores needed to gain entry into university. Most Indigenous students, regardless of their completion year, leave school poorly prepared relative to their non-Indigenous counterparts. These outcomes limit the post-school options and life choices of Indigenous students, perpetuating intergenerational cycles of social and economic disadvantage. The Indigenous population is young: 40 percent of Indigenous people are under 15-years-of-age compared with 20 percent of the non-Indigenous population. The Indigenous population is also growing at twice the annual rate projected for the rest of the population. Demographic forces, coupled with the raising of the school leaving age in some jurisdictions, mean that Indigenous students represent an increasing proportion of all students, particularly in government schools. There is therefore an urgent need to challenge the prevailing view that disparity in the educational outcomes of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students is "normal" and that incremental gains are acceptable. Social polarisation arising from globalisation and unequal opportunities to join the "knowledge economies" further underlines the critical importance of addressing the disparity in educational outcomes. This paper provides recommendations to focus national effort over the 2005-2008 quadrennium. The recommendations seek to accelerate the pace of change by "engaging" Indigenous children and young people in learning. They are systemic as engagement will not occur, or be sustained, unless Indigenous education is "built in" to become an integral part of core business. The recommendations align with five domains in which engagement is critical: early childhood education; school and community educational partnerships; school leadership; quality teaching; and pathways to training, employment and higher education. They are informed by system knowledge of good practice and the extensive body of research on Indigenous education. They foster government to government collaboration and can be adapted by jurisdictions and schools to suit local contexts. Implementation will provide systems and schools with the capacity to engage Indigenous children and young people in learning. It will also assist jurisdictions to meet proposed education and training outcomes of the national reform agenda (human capital stream) agreed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in February 2006 and address key indicators of Indigenous disadvantage endorsed by COAG in 2003. (Contains 12 endnotes.)
Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs. P.O. Box 202 Carlton South Victoria, 3053, Australia. Tel: +61-39-639-0588; Fax: +61-39-639-1790; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA) (Australia)
Identifiers - Location: Australia