There exists in Australia a significant tension between the nature and definition of government goals of education, which are substantially economic, and the essentially social educational goals of Indigenous people. This paper addresses those tensions as they relate to post-compulsory education. It begins with a depiction of findings from the first national survey of Indigenous people pertaining to levels of qualification, desires for further education, and preferred institutions for education and training. The paper then turns to an analysis of the economic and social tensions that have resulted from increasing economic rationalism in education, and explores three prominent economically-based education goals: the development of human capital, increased educational efficiencies and 'enhanced' outcomes. The conflict between these and a range of Indigenous cultural assumptions and practices are then examined. The paper closes with discussion of the policy challenges inherent in attempting to find a balance between the economic imperatives of government and culturally-based Indigenous educational goals.
ISBN: 0 7315 2566 3