Start Date

8-8-2011 3:15 PM

End Date

8-8-2011 4:30 PM


This presentation considers what Indigenous students need in order to achieve their full potential within Australia’s education system. The presentation draws on the success of programs for young Indigenous people and school leavers that enable them to complete university, including elite professional degrees, despite limited success or even failure in secondary schooling. If it can be turned around at this level, why can’t it be done earlier? Equity in educational achievement, after all, is not just about reaching the same end point, but about whether the journey there is also equitable and not unfairly prolonged. If we all agree western education is necessary, and if we could achieve this, the next question is, will western educational success be enough for Indigenous students? Is this Indigenous students’ full potential and if so, will these ‘successful’ Indigenous students be enough to sustain whole communities? This of course is the ultimate aim of education systems. This presentation therefore considers how Indigenous people might define ‘full potential’ differently for Indigenous students and this includes not just education, but also future employment. From an Indigenous point of view Australia has two competing knowledge systems, only one of which is officially acknowledged, valued and resourced to succeed within Australia’s education sector. Indigenous ways of knowing are integral to Indigenous student success and to cultural continuity for Indigenous communities, yet scant resources are allocated to sustain them. Without a sectoral and conceptual shift in relation to Indigenous knowledge systems, we are unlikely to achieve sufficient change in Indigenous students’ schooling outcomes for a large enough cohort of Indigenous students over a long enough period of time to tip the balance for Indigenous communities as a whole.


Concurrent Session Block 2

Aug 8th, 3:15 PM Aug 8th, 4:30 PM

Incorporating and understanding different ways of knowing in the education of Indigenous students.

Concurrent Session Block 2


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