Defending Indigenous children’s rights to education

published 30 March 2011 updated 11 April 2011

Case study Australia: an educational future for Indigenous communities

The well being of Indigenous students, their families and communities remains the most pressing domestic human rights’ issue which we must confront. It is unacceptable that almost a third of Indigenous 15-year-olds in remote areas of Australia are not at school, while a quarter of Indigenous 15-year-olds in major cities are not at school. It is deplorable, and a cause of national shame, that government estimates alone determine that 2,000 school age children in the Northern Territory  of Australia are not even enrolled at school. Research from the Australian Education Union (AEU) has shown that approximately 10,000 Indigenous children in the Northern Territory miss school, from early childhood to post compulsory education.

The AEU is advocating for governments to adopt a 25-year inter-generational plan for Indigenous students with consistent funding frameworks to address key issues:

• Student, Parent and Community engagement: Developing relationships between stakeholders and education services and systems that foster notions of dual accountability and responsibility.

• Workforce: Producing a high quality and high skilled stable workforce.

• Access and sustainability of education provision and delivery: Providing models of education across all levels; enabling full access and responses to needs of local communities, now and in the future.

• Curriculum and pedagogy: Ensuring that a high quality curriculum is delivered which embeds Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing, viewing and relating to the world.

By Angelo Gavrielatos, Australian Education Union (AEU)

This article was published in Worlds of Education, Issue 37, April 2011.