The gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and the general reach of students in ACT public schools indicate that institutions continue to fail, leading expert on indigenous education says

Fewer than a quarter of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in public ACT schools received their late 12th birthday School year, a statement on access to tertiary education, which is about half the general school population

Only 77 percent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in the 10th Year attended public secondary education, compared to 93 percent of the general 10th grade cohort Class

Professor Emeritus John Lester said the numbers released in the ACT’s Directorate of Education annual report were especially frightening given that the indigenous communities in the ACT are among the least disadvantaged in the country

“We are talking about a cohort of parishioners who are generally among the best educated among the indigenous peoples who are still underperforming and whose children are still underperforming,” said Professor Lester

Professor Lester said high quality instruction and personalized study plans are key to improving outcomes for Indigenous students

“There is no such thing as a magic panacea. The panacea is quality teaching, and that is what all schools should achieve,” he said

Twenty-two percent of 12th grade students Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Classes achieved tertiary access declaration in 2019, surpassing a 20 percent target for the broader student population, targeting 50 percent, with 46 percent of students receiving a declaration of admission in 2019

“Although we always have low expectations, we will get low results. I would be disgusted if I made this an option,” said Professor Lester

The director’s report states that the small number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students meant that changes in circumstances could result in large percentage fluctuations for a very small number of students, and that the results must be interpreted with caution The report says

Professor Lester, a lifelong member of the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and director of Aboriginal Education Training in the NSW Education Department, said his research found that Aboriginal schools generally failed in the first five years

“The information from the ACT says it doesn’t matter if they come from rich, educated, busy groups of communities. Schools still cannot get the results,” he said

Professor Lester said the preschool initiatives have been positive but the commitment needs to continue through elementary school to ensure Indigenous students stay through high school

“If you look at it, it’s not a big job for somewhere like the ACT. In a school with half a dozen Aboriginal people, which is pretty common in the ACT, the school might allow you to have the resources,” he said

A spokeswoman for Education Minister Yvette Berry said the ACT government is determined to support the ACT education outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students

“The Directorate of Education is working with high schools and colleges to develop transition programs and activities for 10th grade students Aboriginal Class and Torres Strait Islander Empowerment Colleges and their neighboring high schools have processes and programs in place to support successful transitions [career pathways] also provide options for 10th grade students Class and encourage them to continue their education, “said the spokeswoman

The spokeswoman said the results of tertiary access for Indigenous students in the 12th Year the choice of students reflected in a small cohort of students

“Students often choose alternative routes to university or choose not to go through college, such as an accredited (non-tertiary) package,” she said

The Directorate of Education expanded the Koori preschool program for four-year-old Indigenous children from 12 hours per week to 15 hours per week, according to the report, the program offers game-based programs that emphasize cultural connection and identity

“Early entry is possible for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in order to enroll in a regular preschool up to six months before their age cohort,” states the Directorate’s annual report

According to the report, funds were given to public schools to support Indigenous students and “embed the cultures and perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders into the curriculum”

“During the reporting period, there has been a significant contribution to further strengthening cultural integrity in our schools and supporting the services. The management is committed to supporting all students to ensure they have a safe and supportive learning environment,” says it in the report

In February, 2,645 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students were enrolled in ACT schools, a 47 percent jump from the previous year

The gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and the general reach of students in ACT public schools show that institutions continue to fail Indigenous students, says a leading expert on indigenous education Image: Shutterstock

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World news – AU – Education gap for indigenous students in ACT ‘scary’: expert