Australia has a serious problem in low participation in higher education by students from low socio-economic backgrounds. Indigenous children from urban welfare dependent families, just like non-Indigenous children from similar welfare dependent backgrounds, have very low participation in higher education. The mainstream schools they attend – so called ‘sink’ schools – do not provide adequate primary and secondary education to enable these children to proceed to university.
Children from remote communities are even more disadvantaged because Indigenous schools in those communities fail to teach basic literacy and numeracy, let alone a full primary school curriculum. For these children, the chances of progressing to higher education are negligible.