Education in Australia for teenage Aboriginal people is a big issue for the Government of Australia and has been for sometime. Large numbers of Aboriginal young people will risk long term unemployment upon leaving school if the current rate at which they participate and achieve in eduction, throughout Australia is drastically improved.
Today Aborigines in Australia have the worst year 12 retention rate in the country of 20%. A study has shown that 37% of Aboriginal students are regularly truant and 8% are not even enrolled in any school. Their achievement levels are way below that of the non-Aboriginal students also and this obvious, unrelenting problem has still so far not been properly addressed. The reasons for these poor figures relating to Aboriginal students are problems such as the students feeling disadvantaged because the set up of High Schools pays little attention to their culture and specific needs for learning.
Parents have said they have difficulty getting their children to attend school when it is such and uncomfortable environment, and there is also persistent sense of racism in dealing with the schools faculty and other students. These problems obviously run fairly deep throughout not only education systems, but societies views and stereotypes, dealing with and solving this major difficulty is unlikely to be something that can or will occur soon.
An announcement by South Australian Education Minister Colin Barnett in 1999, said that the Government will be establishing an Aboriginal-managed school in the Northern Suburbs. Hopefully measures such as this one and others, will slowly begin bridging the gap between education standards and results for Aboriginal people throughout the whole of Australia.
'Current Social Issues,' Vol 99, No 19, November, 1999, Curtin Publishing.