Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Release Date
1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/02/2004   
   Page tools: Print Print Page RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

This page was updated on 23 Nov 2012 to include the disclaimer below. No other content in this article was affected.

DISCLAIMER:
Users are warned that historic issues of this publication may contain language or views which, reflecting the authors' attitudes or that of the period in which the item was written, may be considered to be inappropriate or offensive today.


Indigenous education and training

Education is generally considered to be a key factor in improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with many studies having shown that improved health and socioeconomic status are directly linked to educational participation and achievement. A range of issues, however, affect participation in education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including: access to educational institutions, financial constraints, and community expectations. While targeted programs aim to improve outcomes in some educational areas, Indigenous students continue to engage in education and training at lower rates of participation and achieve lower levels of educational attainment than for all Australian students.

This article examines the participation of Indigenous students in each of the education sectors: schooling, vocational education and training, and higher education.

Indigenous school students

In 2002 there were 82,467 full-time plus full-time equivalent (FTE) of part-time Indigenous students attending primary schools and a further 39,618 Indigenous students (FTE) attending secondary schools.

Most Indigenous students (88%) attended government schools in 2002. Of the remainder attending non-government schools, most were attending Catholic schools (66%) (table S10.1). The increase in ungraded students between primary and secondary education is mostly attributable to the ungraded classification of secondary-age students attending Northern Territory remote Homeland Learning Centres. This is due to the difficulty of classifying such students in terms of the standard secondary grade structure.

S10.1 INDIGENOUS SCHOOL STUDENTS (FTE)(a) - August 2002

Non-government schools

Level/year of education
Government schools
Catholic
Other
Total
All schools

Primary
Pre-year 1(b)
6,815
595
220
815
7,630
Year 1
10,553
889
260
1,149
11,702
Year 2
10,380
927
297
1,224
11,604
Year 3
10,061
849
282
1,131
11,192
Year 4
10,004
887
290
1,177
11,181
Year 5
9,837
842
289
1,131
10,968
Year 6
9,417
753
298
1,051
10,468
Year 7 (Qld, SA, WA, NT)
5,556
493
240
733
6,289
Ungraded
1,123
89
221
310
1,433
Total
73,746
6,324
2,397
8,721
82,467
Secondary
Year 7 (NSW, Vic., Tas., ACT)
3,522
314
76
390
3,912
Year 8
8,148
802
591
1,393
9,541
Year 9
7,284
746
487
1,233
8,516
Year 10
5,832
777
428
1,205
7,037
Year 11
3,841
534
349
883
4,725
Year 12
2,426
418
182
600
3,025
Ungraded
2,040
198
624
822
2,862
Total
33,092
3,789
2,737
6,526
39,618
Total
106,839
10,113
5,134
15,246
122,085

(a) Full-time students plus full-time equivalent of part-time students.
(b) Pre-year 1 does not include Qld.
Source: ABS data available on request, National Schools Statistics Collection, 2002.

Graph S10.2 shows that, for government schools, numbers of Indigenous school students (FTE) decline with each successive year level post Pre-year 1. While there is a gradual decline from Year 1 to Year 7, it is accelerated in secondary schooling as Indigenous students complete compulsory schooling, and particularly from Year 10 to Year 11. At non-government schools, school student numbers (FTE) remain steady from Year 1 to Year 7, then increase to a higher level for Years 8 to 10 as some students of government schools move to non-government schools.

Graph - S10.2 Indigenous school students (FTE), By level/year of education - August 2002


Table S10.3 shows a 20% increase in Indigenous students attending school between 1998 and 2002. Over this period, attendance at school increased from 102,488 to 122,085 students (FTE). While New South Wales and Queensland experienced the largest increases in Indigenous school attendance (by 7,072 and 5,607 students (FTE) respectively), growth was proportionally greatest for the Australian Capital Territory (27%) and Victoria (26%).

Increased attendance by Indigenous students was evident at both primary and secondary levels. This was the case in every state and territory, except the Northern Territory, where attendance at primary schools fell by less than 1%. Growth in Indigenous students over the period was greater at the secondary level (24%) than at the primary level (17%).

S10.3 INDIGENOUS SCHOOL STUDENTS (FTE)(a), By level of education - August

NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT(b)
Aust.

Primary
1998
19,185
3,412
19,242
4,511
11,697
2,422
9,629
475
70,572
2002
23,283
4,270
22,845
5,123
13,828
2,862
9,609
648
82,467
Secondary
1998
9,941
1,750
8,712
1,543
4,470
1,709
3,440
350
31,915
2002
12,915
2,223
10,716
1,982
5,659
2,013
3,708
402
39,618
Total
1998
29,126
5,162
27,954
6,054
16,167
4,131
13,068
825
102,488
2002
36,198
6,493
33,561
7,105
19,487
4,875
13,317
1,049
122,085

(a) Full-time students plus full-time equivalent of part-time students.
(b) Includes one government primary school in Jervis Bay Territory.
Source: ABS data available on request, National Schools Statistics Collection, 2002.

Apparent retention in school

The growth in retention of Indigenous students in senior secondary schooling has been notable over the five-year period ending 2002. The apparent retention rate for Indigenous students from Year 7/8 to Year 12 rose 5.9 percentage points from 1998 to 2002 compared to a rise of 3.6 percentage points for non-Indigenous students over the same period. Nonetheless, the rate of retention of Indigenous students in secondary schools remains substantially below that for non-Indigenous students. The apparent retention rate for Indigenous students commencing in Year 7/8 and continuing to Year 12 was 38%, compared to 76% for non-Indigenous students (table S10.4).

S10.4 APPARENT RETENTION RATES(a), Indigenous and non-Indigenous students

1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
%
%
%
%
%

Year 9
Indigenous
95.0
93.9
95.7
96.5
97.8
Non-Indigenous
99.7
99.9
99.8
100.0
99.8
Year 10
Indigenous
83.1
82.0
83.0
85.8
86.4
Non-Indigenous
97.5
97.9
98.0
98.2
98.5
Year 11
Indigenous
52.5
56.0
53.6
56.1
58.9
Non-Indigenous
85.4
86.4
86.2
87.6
88.7
Year 12
Indigenous
32.1
34.7
36.4
35.7
38.0
Non-Indigenous
72.7
73.2
73.3
74.5
76.3

(a) Full-time students only. From the commencement of secondary school, which is Year 7 in NSW, Vic.,Tas., and the ACT and Year 8 in Qld, SA, WA and the NT.
Source: ABS 2002.

Indigenous VET students

In 2002, 53% of Indigenous vocational education and training (VET) clients were male. In all geographic regions, the number of male Indigenous clients outnumbered their female counterparts (table S10.5). Some 26% of Indigenous clients were located in capital cities compared with 57% of all clients, and a further 28% of Indigenous clients were located in remote areas compared with 3% of all clients.

S10.5 INDIGENOUS VET(a) CLIENTS(b), By geographic region of client address - 2002

Units
Capital city
Other urban
Rural
Remote
All regions(c)(d)

Indigenous clients
Males
'000
8.3
1.8
12.4
9.2
32.7
Females
'000
7.6
1.7
11.0
8.0
28.9
Persons
'000
15.9
3.6
23.4
17.3
61.7
All Indigenous clients
%
25.8
5.8
37.9
28.0
100.0
All clients
%
56.6
6.7
30.3
3.4
100.0

(a) Includes all vocational and preparatory courses delivered by TAFE and other government providers, registered community providers, and publicly funded delivery by private providers that lead to a vocational award. Excludes enrolments in fee-for-service VET courses of private providers, and schools data submitted by states and territories.
(b) A client is any individual participating in a specific enrolment or training contract with a specific organisation.
(c) Includes Indigenous students whose sex is unknown.
(d) Includes 'Indigenous status not stated' and students studying outside Australia.
Source: National Centre for Vocational Education Research, National Vocational Education Collection, data available on request.

Since clients may be enrolled in more than one VET course, the number of course enrolments is greater than the total number of clients. There were 79,600 Indigenous course enrolments in 2002 compared with 62,000 Indigenous clients.

In 2002 there were more Indigenous enrolments (25%) in multi-field VET courses (including school courses offered in VET institutions) than in other courses (table S10.6). Management and commerce (15%) and Society and culture (14%) were the next most popular fields of education. By way of contrast, the most popular fields of education for non-Indigenous VET students, were in Management and commerce (22%), Engineering and related studies (15%) and Society and culture (12%).

S10.6 INDIGENOUS VET COURSE ENROLMENTS(a),
By field of education - 2002


Number
’000

Natural and physical sciences
0.1
Information technology
1.8
Engineering and related technologies
8.5
Architecture and building
3.6
Agriculture, environmental and related studies
6.6
Health
5.0
Education
2.4
Management and commerce
12.2
Society and culture
11.0
Creative arts
4.3
Food, hospitality and personal services
4.2
Multi-field VET
20.0
Total
79.6

(a) Includes all vocational and preparatory courses delivered by TAFE and other government providers, registered community providers, and publicly funded delivery by private providers that lead to a vocational award. Enrolments in fee-for-service VET courses of private providers have been excluded.
Source: National Centre for Vocational Education Research, National Vocational Education Collection, data available on request.

The number of Indigenous apprentices and trainees has increased by 75%, from 4,000 in 1998 to 7,000 in 2002. Over the same period, the growth in non-Indigenous apprentices and trainees was 104%. Indigenous apprentices and trainees represented 1.9% of all apprentices and trainees in 2002, compared to 1.8% in 1998.

Indigenous higher education students

In 2002, 8,871 Indigenous students were enrolled in higher education, an increase of 2.4% on enrolments in 2001. Table S10.7 shows the distribution of Indigenous higher education student enrolments across the states and territories. In 2002, 4,246 Indigenous students commenced higher education study, an increase of 2.8% on the level of commencing students in 2001.

Overall, females (63%) represented the greater proportion of Indigenous higher education students in 2002. The equivalent proportion among all higher education students was 54%. The proportion of female Indigenous students was higher in the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia (68%, 65% and 64% respectively).

S10.7 INDIGENOUS HIGHER EDUCATION STUDENTS(a) - 2002

Commencing students
All students


Units
Males
Females
Persons
Males
Females
Persons

New South Wales
no.
435
556
991
948
1,390
2,338
Victoria
no.
137
214
351
346
524
870
Queensland
no.
310
514
824
677
1,146
1,823
South Australia
no.
84
145
229
185
349
534
Western Australia
no.
318
498
816
556
984
1,540
Tasmania
no.
46
58
104
98
149
247
Northern Territory
no.
216
512
728
333
719
1,052
Australian Capital Territory
no.
39
52
91
86
109
195
Multi-state(b)
no.
30
82
112
63
209
272
Total
no.
1,615
2,631
4,246
3,292
5,579
8,871
Change from 2001
%
7.8
0.0
2.8
5.1
0.9
2.4

(a) Students enrolled at anytime within the 12-month period 1 September to 31 August.
(b) Multi-state institutions have campuses in more than one state and/or territory.
Source: DEST 2002.

Graph S10.8 illustrates the growth in Indigenous participation in higher education over the past decade. Between 1992 and 2002 the number of Indigenous students in higher education increased by 58% from 5,105 to 8,871.

Graph - S10.8 Indigenous higher education students


Table S10.9 shows that in 2002 the fields of study with the largest numbers of Indigenous student enrolments were Society and culture (35%), Education (20%) and Health (13%). Some 70% of Indigenous students in higher education at 2002 were enrolled in courses leading to a Bachelor degree or higher level of qualification. This compares to 95% of all higher education students.

S10.9 INDIGENOUS HIGHER EDUCATION STUDENTS, By field of education and level of course - 2002

Field of education
Postgraduate
degree
Graduate diploma/
Graduate certificate
Bachelor
degree
Advanced diploma/
Diploma
Other
education
Enabling
courses
Total(a)

Natural and physical sciences
18
6
223
1
2
7
257
Information technology
13
12
150
2
-
-
177
Engineering and related technologies
10
6
102
2
8
1
129
Architecture and building
5
-
45
-
-
-
50
Agriculture, environment and related studies
10
23
118
21
9
42
223
Health
67
89
739
238
9
13
1,155
Education
111
76
1,158
361
10
64
1,780
Management and commerce
106
68
601
7
4
-
786
Society and culture
257
86
1 981
496
19
294
3,133
Creative arts
41
25
370
95
3
149
683
Mixed field programmes
-
-
-
-
-
728
728
Total(a)(b)
638
391
5,209
1,223
64
1,298
8,871

(a) Includes a small number of non-award courses.
(b) The data take into account the coding of combined courses to two fields of education. As a consequence, the data in the total row may be less than the sum of the data aggregated down each field of education.
Source: DEST 2002.

References

ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2002, Schools, Australia, 2002, cat. no. 4221.0, ABS, Canberra.

DEST (Department of Education, Science and Training), 2002, Students 2002: Selected Higher Education Statistics, DEST, Canberra.

Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.