Engagement and Success

There’s a culture shift by Deans and Heads of Schools.

Professor Peter Buckskin, MATSITI Project Director

Four years ago there was us and there was them – in terms of us as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers and there were the Deans of Education and they were so distant, such an unknown kind of quality. It ‘s not an ‘us and them’ situation anymore. It ‘s a group of people working towards the same ends.                                                        

Dr Kaye Price, MATSITI

The Engagement and Success Project provided sustained and targeted support to Australian Faculties and Schools of Education to focus on, and engage with, the MATSITI project goals within the Behrendt Report recommendations.

The specific project aims were to:

  • Improve the engagement and success of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students undertaking ITE programs 
  • To close the gap in retention and graduation rates of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students

The 2015 focus was on ensuring mechanisms were in place to maintain project objectives after the project finished. This included ACDE sponsorship and involvement in MATSITl’s two-day OurMobTeach 2015 Conference from 30 September in Adelaide.

Attending or presenting at OurMobTeach were 52 Faculty and Schools of Education staff and 20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, several of whom travelled through ACDE sponsorship. The large staff attendance (for which there was no sponsorship) show the increased institutional awareness and prioritisation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education.

The Engagement and Success Project may have formally ended in October 2015 but its legacies are ongoing. These include:

  • ACDE’s Strategic Plan 2016-2018 including continued commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ education
  • Ensuring greater Indigenous representation is central to ACDE This is demonstrated by the ACDE Constitutional change to have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Education representative on the ACDE Board – now Professor Peter Buckskin- and the establishment of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Education Advisory Committee
  • An increased focus across institutions on Indigenous Education and the provision of specialised support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students

A key outcome of the project has been Faculties and Schools of Education talking to Indigenous Centres about issues affecting, as well as  the development and delivery of curricula relating to, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Furthermore, many institutions that participated in the project’s second phase now consult with Indigenous Centres about ongoing advocacy, partnership, student support and program development.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ are now represented on committees, are more widely consulted about curriculum and events.

Associate Professor Nerida Blair of Australian Catholic University discusses a new approach to practica at the MATSITI ACDE Engagement and Success Day, November 2015.
Professor Leanne Holt gives a keynote address on the work and successes of The Wollotuka Institute at the University of Newcastle. (part speech)
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