Indigenous Engagement in Education Essay

2535 WordsFeb 17, 201411 Pages
Indigenous Engagement in Education “Education is the greatest single weapon to overcome disadvantage and the impact of this denial of education affects me and other indigenous people to this day” Yvonne Butler, Aboriginal woman. What social factors impact Indigenous people’s engagement in education? The percentage of Australian Indigenous Students graduating from Year 12 is significantly lower than that of non – indigenous students (Gray & Beresford, 2008, pg. 200). The Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011 report indicated that in 2008 31% of young Indigenous people aged from 20-24 had completed Year 12 compared to 76% non – indigenous people in the same age bracket. Between 2002 and 2008 there was an increase of 3% of young indigenous people completing year 12. The apparent school retention rates for 2011 are 49%, an improvement from the 36% in 2001. But when compared to 81% apparent retention rate of non-indigenous students the gap is significant (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011). It has been suggested that Australia’s Indigenous people are the most socio economically disadvantaged Indigenous people when compared to the Indigenous people of the USA, Canada and New Zealand.(Kaufman, 2003, pg. 199). Findings from national and international research have outlined multiple social indicators that affect school attendance and achievement. These include but are not limited to; poverty, health, housing, isolation and language (Zubrick, 2009, pg. 200) One of the most damaging impacts on young indigenous people completing year 12 is the “the consequences of denying education to several generations of Indigenous students set up intergenerational patterns of educational disadvantage.’” (Gray & Beresford, 2008, pg. 205). This paper aims to outline the historical background of “white” education for indigenous Australians, the effects of generational social

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