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Improving opportunities for indigenous Australians.



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MEDIA RELEASE

 

DR DAVID KEMP, MP

Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs

 

11 May 1999

 

IMPROVING OPPORTUNITIES FOR INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS

 

The Government has made educational equity for Indigenous Australians a key national priority with the provision of almost $1 billion over five years to lift standards for Indigenous students with special needs, the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Dr David Kemp announced today.

 

As part of this year’s Budget, the Government has re-affirmed its commitment to substantially improve educational opportunities for Indigenous Australians and will put the resources needed into schools and educational institutions over the next five years to achieve a significant improvement in this area.

 

“This funding commitment recognises that many Indigenous young Australians have fallen well behind the rest of the community in their literacy and numeracy levels,” said Dr Kemp.

 

“There is no doubt that through specific policies aimed at addressing the problems governments over the last decade have begun to make progress, but much remains to be done. The ‘Making A Difference: The impact of Australia ‘s indigenous education and training policy’ report undertaken by the NCVER shows that there has been “... enormous improvement in Indigenous access to and participation in all forms of education and training in Australia. Parity between indigenous and non-indigenous people is within sight in some sectors and amongst some age groups...” (p. ix). The report shows that retention rates to Year 12 for Indigenous students has risen from 12.3% in 1989 to 29.2% in 1996.

 

“We must make the achievement of educational equality for Australia’s Indigenous peoples an urgent national priority. Australia’s education and training systems must provide sufficient choice and diversity in their infrastructure, curriculum, teaching and learning practices, and assessment and reporting arrangements to enable Indigenous people to choose from the same range of futures as other Australians,” said Dr Kemp.

 

Over the first three Howard budgets, spending on Indigenous education has increased by a total of $143 million.

 

Funding for the Indigenous Education Strategic Initiatives Programme (IESIP) will total almost $130 million in 1999-2000. A number of changes will be made to streamline the programme’s administrative arrangements.

 

Funding for the Indigenous Education Direct Assistance (IEDA) Programme in 1999-2000 will total some $62.3 million, up from $60.2 million in 1998-99. IEDA has three elements: the Aboriginal Tutorial Assistance Scheme, the Aboriginal Student Support and Parent Awareness Programme and the Vocational and Educational Guidance for Aboriginals Scheme.

 

Two new strategies will also be introduced in this coming year - the National Indigenous English Literacy and Numeracy Strategy and the National Indigenous Students School Attendance Strategy.

 

The additional funding for Indigenous students in need will be of special benefit to the education systems in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales, where the largest Indigenous population centres are.

 

“There can be no doubt that improving the provision of education to Indigenous Australians, and achieving a significant improvement in educational achievements will empower Indigenous communities and individual Indigenous Australians to participate in our society to their full potential,” said Dr Kemp.

 

“The cause of true reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians will be furthered with this major contribution to Indigenous education in tonight’s budget. It highlights the Government’s approach in Indigenous affairs of focusing on and addressing the key areas of Indigenous disadvantage: in education, health and housing, thus arming Indigenous Australians with the tools they need to control their own destinies.”

 

Media contact: Samantha Herron 0412 639 754 or 02 6277 7460

 

FACT SHEET

IMPROVING OPPORTUNITIES FOR INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS

  • The ‘Making A Difference: The impact of Australia’s indigenou s education and training policy’ report undertaken by the NCVER shows that there has been "… enormous improvement in Indigenous access to and participation in all forms of education and training in Australia. Parity between indigenous and non-indigenous people is within sight in some sectors and amongst some age groups…" (p. ix).
  • The report shows that retention rates to Year 12 for Indigenous students has risen from 12.3 per cent in 1989 to 29.2 per cent in 1996.
  • Higher education participation rates for Indigenous people aged 18-20 rose from 2 per cent in 1986 to 5.2 per cent in 1 996. The actual number of Indigenous Australians participating in higher education has risen from under 2000 in 1987 to 7,789 in 1998.

Indigenous Education Strategic Initiatives Programme (IESIP)

  • The Indigenous Education (Supplementary Assistance) Act 19 89 appropriates funding for the Indigenous Education Strategic Initiatives Programme (IESIP), which is the Commonwealth’s principal programme for addressing the educational disadvantage of Indigenous Australians.
  • IESIP supports the achievement of equity in education for Indigenous Australians through:
  • involving Indigenous community members in educational decision-making;
  • providing equality of access to educational services;
  • raising the rates of Indigenous Australian educational participation to those of all Australians;
  • achieving equitable and appropriate educational outcomes.
  • IESIP funding in 1999-2000 will total almost $130 million. The first Coalition Budget for 1996-97 committed an additional $143 million from 1995-1996 to 1998-1999 across a range of programmes including an extra $80 million over four years under IESIP. The 1999-2000 Federal Budget sees this level of funding being maintained in line with the Government’s firm commitment to ensure the achievement of equitable and appropriate educational outcomes for Indigenous Australians.
  • In addition, a number of changes will be made to streamline the programme’s administrative arrangements. IESIP is based on agreed performance indicators and improvement targets for Indigenous students in relation to the 21 goals of the Aboriginal Education Policy. All State and Territory governments as well as other education providers in receipt of IESIP funding have set performance indicators for the measurement of progress throughout the 1997-1999 triennium.
  • The current IESIP triennium, 1997-1999, will be extended for a further year to include 2000 to allow IESIP to move to a quadrennial funding programme and align with the Commonwealth’s major schools funding programmes. The current performance indicators and targets will be restructured for the 2001-2004 IESIP quadrennium to improve outcomes reporting.
  • In December 1998, the Government announced changes to ABSTUDY to take effect from 1 January 2000 which will align ABSTUDY living allowance payments for students aged 16-20 with rates payable for the Youth Allowance and for students aged 21 years and over with the Newstart payment. The changes enable ABSTUDY recipients to access the Youth Allowance benefits such as rent assistance and the pharmaceutical allowance. The changes will ensure that benefits payable to Indigenous students will be the same as those paid to non-Indigenous students except in cases where such alignment clearly did not cater effectively for the particular disadvantages faced by an Indigenous student.
  • Under the new ABSTUDY arrangements, the ‘mixed-mode’ away-from-base element will be transferred from ABSTUDY to IESIP. Funds under the ‘mixed-mode’ away-from-base element will be paid in the form of a block grant to institutions for the purchase of agreed education outcomes.

Indigenous Education Direct Assistance (IEDA) Programme

  • Funding for the Indigenous Education Direct Assistance (IEDA) Programme in 1999-2000 will total some $62.3 million. This compares with $60.2 million in 1998-99. IEDA has three elements, namely: the Aboriginal Tutorial Assistance Scheme, the Aboriginal Student Support and Parent Awareness Programme and the Vocational and Educational Guidance for Aboriginals Scheme.
  • Under the Aboriginal Tutorial Assistance Scheme (ATAS), Indigenous students may receive supplementary tutorial assistance and other kinds of study help. The aim of ATAS is to assist Indigenous students to achieve educational outcomes equal to those of other Australians.
  • The Vocational and Educational Guidance for Aboriginals Scheme (VEGAS) funds activities to improve retention rates and develop informed further education, training and employment options. The scheme provides grants to sponsoring organisations to:
  • conduct projects for Indigenous Australian secondary school students and their parents;
  • conduct projects for Indigenous Australian prisoners which foster positive attitudes towards participation in education; and
  • provide information to assist Indigenous secondary school students and their parents to consider options available for further study or a career.
  • Under the Aboriginal Student Support and Parent Awareness (ASSPA) programme, the Government provides funding to school-based parent committees for a v ariety of pre-school and school-based activities designed to enhance educational opportunities for Indigenous students in preschool, primary and secondary schools and to involve Indigenous parents in educational decision making processes.

New Strategies

  • The National Indigenous English Literacy and Numeracy Strategy will allocate existing funds over the years 2000 to 2004 to provide assistance by supporting the identification and dissemination of best practice models and teaching methods drawn from various pilot projects currently being undertaken. The strategy will support the goals of the National Literacy and Numeracy Plan and the National Goals for Schooling framework by addressing the specific needs of Indigenous education.
  • The National Indigenous Stu dents’ School Attendance Strategy will allocate $14 million out of existing funds over the years 2000 to 2004 to encourage better school attendance for Indigenous students. There is widespread agreement across education providers, parents and Indigenous education bodies that regular school attendance is critical to students’ chances of achieving successful educational outcomes. The strategy will assist State and Territory governments and non-government authorities to improve attendance outcomes by supporting the implementation of best practice attendance initiatives, such as professional development and cultural awareness training for teachers, and projects to assist in affirming students’ cultural identity and to facilitate community input into teaching programmes.

 

 

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