Closing the Gap on Indigenous Education

ANIKA MCMAHON

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The Education Gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students is closing. Photo: Public Commons

The Department of Education and Training (DET) reveals improved educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Queensland state schools.

A Spokesperson from the DET said a number of support systems have been introduced into schools to work towards closing the gap between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous students.

“DET is working to ensure effective and proven support systems are in place to enable the achievement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to match or exceed those of their non-Indigenous peers,” they said.

Attention is placed on incorporating input from Indigenous students and their families.

“There is a move to guarantee appropriate attention is given to those factors that have a demonstrably positive influence on Indigenous students and their families.”

These factors include culture and identity, symbolism and belonging.

“Culture and identity [reveals] students and families who are strong in their own culture and display confidence in their own identity are more likely to succeed at schooling and in broader social outcomes.”

“Symbolism [reveals] students and families are more likely to attend school and interact with teachers and classrooms when there are symbols within this environment they connect with such as art works and murals, flags and acknowledgements. Symbols such as these demonstrate the school has an understanding of and welcomes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people,” they said.

“Belonging creat[es] an environment where Indigenous students and families feel safe and supported to learn using classroom activities that relate to their own experiences and surroundings.”

QLD state schools encourage supportive learning environments.

“Queensland state schools work hard to remain culturally inclusive through continual collaboration with the community.”

Experienced principal in aboriginal and Torres Strait Education Don Anderson said the education gap is closing between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students.

“I guess if you look at the pan average analysis it’s [education gap] certainly closed,” he said.

Mr Anderson said there are many Indigenous student excelling at school.

“One of the interesting things is there is lots of aboriginal students who are doing exceptionally well, it’s just that there are too many that aren’t, a disproportionate number that aren’t.”

“I think one of the things you don’t get to see all the number of Indigenous students who are doing really well,” he said.

“We talk about all the negative issues about the outcomes for aboriginal kids, but we’ve got all these stars out there as well.”

“But we [can’t] dodge the issue that there are too many Indigenous kids who are not [doing well], that would be wrong also.”

An active member of Good to Great Schools and former CEO of Cape York Academy Mr Anderson believes students benefit from a holistic education incorporating the 5C Program; childhood, class, club, culture and community.

“For a holistic education its not just literacy and numeracy delivered through direct instruction, though we’re proud to say that’s really important, but there’s also engagement with community, then the culture, teaching the indigenous culture in an academic and deep way, then there’s club [ballet, sports] which are also a critical parts of a child’s education.”

“The goal is to improve everyone’s education not just Indigenous education.”

 

 

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