The Australian 14 September 2012
The proportion of indigenous students on campus should be roughly doubled, a report on indigenous participation in higher education recommends. Indigenous people comprise just 1.09% of university students, according to an analysis of last year’s census data. The target should be 2.2% to match the indigenous share of the working-age population, according to the review by Sydney legal academic Larissa Behrendt.
We struggle to close the gap. We wonder how it is that we can spend so much effort and so many resources with little impact in improving literacy and health. And we aren’t going to move those statistics without the emergence of a class of professional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Behrendt Report urges the federal government to quarantine research training funds to ensure a “pipeline” of Aboriginal students into masters and PhD courses.
Individual universities should negotiate their own targets depending on the number of indigenous people living in their regions, and the time frames for achieving the targets.
Universities should receive extra funding for meeting or exceeding the targets, with administrators and faculty leaders held accountable, the report says.
The federal government will use the report as a “roadmap” to work with universities to work with universities to further improve access and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, according to Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans.