This discussion paper presents an exploratory overview of Australia's Indigenous education policy spanning the years 1975-95. The paper provides a brief description of the political evolution of that policy and focuses on the three major national Indigenous education reviews of the past 20 years: the Report to the Schools Commission by the Aboriginal Consultative Group, the Report of the Aboriginal Education Policy Task Force and the National Review of Education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. The paper traces trends and patterns in national policy through analysis of the recommendations of these three reviews. The 140 recommendations are clustered according to five prominent topic areas: consultation, responsibility and decision making; curriculum; support structures and instructional approaches; educational staffing; and future research. The analysis reveals that while the recommendations have become sharper and more specific over time, they are striking for their continuity. Though new and important themes have emerged over the past 20 years, none of the earlier policy issues have been fully resolved or are now absent from policy considerations. Indigenous access, participation and equity remain the central themes. The paper concludes with a discussion of future directions for Indigenous education policy research and identifies some critical questions and possible research approaches related to: the evaluation of existing programs and policies; definitions of 'quality' and outcomes in Indigenous education; the roles of schools in Indigenous communities; the processes of educational consultation and funding; and the complex issues surrounding mainstream versus Indigenous community controlled schools.
ISBN: 07315 17660