First Indigenous Strategy for All Universities
Universities Australia has released its Indigenous 2017-2020 strategy with clear targets to grow the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in university by 50 percent above the growth rate of non-Indigenous students.
ACDE Board Member and NATSIHEC Chair, Professor Peter Buckskin, says the strategy is a way to make Indigenous success core business in higher education.
‘Aspiration and substance are crucial to this endeavour. We will work together to ensure that the promise of the Indigenous Strategy has tangible outcomes,’ he says.
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Consortium (NATSIHEC) worked closely with Universities Australia to develop the strategy.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Belinda Robinson says the strategy recognises that Indigenous knowledge goes back thousands of generations before Australia’s first university was established.
‘Australia’s first peoples make enormous contributions to learning and research. We hope this strategy will help universities to make the most of that contribution, lift Indigenous participation and celebrate Indigenous excellence.
‘Australia’s universities have achieved strong growth in Indigenous enrolments in recent years. We now have 70 percent more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university students than in 2008.
‘Yet there is still a gap to close. Indigenous people comprise 2.7 per cent of Australia’s working age population but only 1.6 percent of university domestic student enrolments – up from 1.2 percent a decade ago,’ Ms Robinson says.
After several years of targeted efforts, the percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in teacher education is well above the average for all university students. However, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples still comprise only 1.2% of the teaching workforce yet 4.9% of school students.
Last month’s Closing the Gap report noted that the higher the level of education, the smaller the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous employment.