Indigenous Participation in University Education - The Centre for Independent Studies
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Indigenous Participation in University Education


The government’s use of race-based ‘average’ educational performance measures denigrates Indigenous achievement, ignoring the achievements of the 24,000 Indigenous university graduates in Australia, says a new report being released on Wednesday.

Joe Lane’s report for the CIS, Indigenous Participation in University Education, says that Indigenous enrolments at universities are steadily growing and in 2007, almost 1500 graduated.

‘The growth in graduate areas has meant that more Indigenous people are accessing employment opportunities, home ownership and exercising choice over their lives.’

‘Over the past 10 years indigenous university enrolments have moved from sub-degree to degree courses and students have diversified into a range of higher-level professional fields.’

For example, in addition to nursing they are now studying to be doctors and instead of teaching, many more are now choosing law. Along with the 129 Indigenous practising doctors, there are at least as many medical students currently enrolled,’ says Lane.

‘It is argued that there is a major gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous educational achievement. This ignores the sharp increase in Indigenous participation in tertiary education since 1990’, says Lane.

On current trends, there are likely to be at least 50,000 Indigenous graduates by 2020.

Lane argues that ‘there is a widening gulf between the 60 percent or more Indigenous people working and living in mainstream Australia and the minority living in welfare-dependent urban ghettos and remote settlements.’

‘Today, even fewer young people from welfare-embedded indigenous communities are being educated effectively and enrolling in universities than a decade ago. These children experience extremely poor education delivery combined with the problems and false expectations engendered by welfare dependence.’

Joe Lane is an independent South Australian researcher and is available for comment.

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