School Education

Terry Ngamandarra Wilson, Gulach (detail), painting on bark, private collection © Terry Ngamandarra, licensed by Viscopy, 2016
Author/editor: Crawford, H, & Venn, D
Publisher: CAEPR
Year published: 2018
Issue no.: 10


This papers uses data from the Census of Population and Housing to examine trends between 2006 and 2016 in two aspects of Indigenous education: school participation and Year 12 attainment. We find that there has been considerable growth in the Indigenous school student population, both at primary and secondary level. Much of the growth in Indigenous student numbers at primary level has been in nonremote areas, particularly in urban areas of Queensland and New South Wales. Growth in the number of secondary school students was also seen in some remote areas of Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory. Over time, more Indigenous students are attending non-government schools. However, the government system remains the most important provider of education for Indigenous students, in both remote and nonremote areas. There has been strong growth in Year 12 attainment among the Indigenous population, in both remote and nonremote areas. Far fewer Indigenous students are dropping out of school to work or inactivity, possibly in part due to weaker labour market conditions and falling teenage fertility rates. A large part of the remaining gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students in the likelihood of leaving school without completing Year 12 is attributable to personal, household, school and neighbourhood characteristics.

Keywords: Indigenous education, Indigenous policy, school, school dropout, census.

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