Teacher Education: Highest Percentage of Indigenous Students, But Not Enough

Teacher Education: Highest Percentage of Indigenous Students, But Not Enough

Professor Peter Buckskin

MATSITI Project Diector and ACDE Board Member, Professor Peter Buckskin

The percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Teacher Education is the highest of all Fields of Education and almost double the FOE average.

Department of Education 2015 figures[1] show that 1.96% of all Teacher Education students are Indigenous compared to an average of 1.13% in all FOEs.

However, the proportion of Indigenous Teacher Education students still needs to increase substantially if it is to reflect the 3% of Australians who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples[2].

The ACDE has worked closely with the four-year More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers Initiative (MATSITI) in a bid to identify how best to attract, support and retain Initial Teacher Education students and improve the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers in the workforce.

MATSITI formally finishes at the end of May but the second 2016 Deans’ Forum on June 17 in Adelaide will explore where we have been and where we need to go with Indigenous Education.

MATSITI Project Director and ACDE Board Member, Professor Peter Buckskin, says the Forum is ‘an exciting opportunity to build on the great work achieved over the last four years’.

It will ‘create a sustainable approach to attracting and graduating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers. A more culturally diverse, skilled workforce is essential for a more cultural inclusive Australia,’ Professor Buckskin says.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples currently account for 4.9% of school students yet only 1.2% of teachers.

The Adelaide Deans’ Forum will consider:

  • How do we address the most pressing issues?
  • How can we ensure that ALL teachers are culturally appropriate and have the skills and confidence to work well with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and teach Indigenous education subjects?
  • How can we grow the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teaching workforce?
  • How can you, your teacher education students and teachers use the new 3Rs of Teaching – Respect, Relationships and Reconciliation online resources that will be launched at the Forum?

ACDE Deans’ Forum. Crowne Plaza, Adelaide. 10am – 3.30pm. Friday, June 17. Register here.

[1] Analysis based on Department of Education, 2015 First Half Year Student Summary Tables for Higher Education. Accessed at https://docs.education.gov.au/documents/2015-first-half-year-student-summary-tables

[2] Australian Bureau of Statistics. June 2011 Census.

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