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I N D I G E N O U S E D U C AT I O N

The federal government’s failure to follow up on a program that has boosted the number of Aboriginal teachers highlights what’s been wrong with Aboriginal education policy for a long time. BY D R K AT E O ' H A L LO R A N

Stalling on the road to progress

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n September 2016 Professor Peter Buckskin submitted the final report of the More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers Initiative (MATSITI). The four-year initiative was dedicated to providing a more equitable ratio of teachers to Indigenous students to support the first priority of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Strategy: leadership, quality teaching and workforce development. Buckskin reported that its approach was an unbridled success. In 2012–15 the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers increased 16.5 per cent “due to recruitment

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and improved levels of Indigenous identification… with a growing proportion working in leadership positions”. Likewise, an independent evaluation found that MATSITI had “raised program partners’ awareness of the connection between increasing the number and capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers and leaders, and achieving positive outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school students”. The evaluation also noted that, in many cases, project managers began to seek out, recognise, listen to and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander staff for the first time. But despite MATSITI’s success, Buckskin, who is currently the dean of Aboriginal engagement and strategic projects at the University of South Australia, has received no response from government since his report was submitted, and no further funding has been committed to the initiative. Buckskin has more than 30 years’ experience working in the area of Aboriginal policy and education, and he laments that one of the biggest problems with initiatives like MATSITI is their short-lived funding structures. “We need funding for the long term,” he says. “You’re never going to get

PHOTOGRAPHY BY FAIRFAX SYNDICATION

Education funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education continues to be underfunded.

Educator summer 2017  

http://www.aeufederal.org.au/application/files/9915/0968/2926/Educator_Summer_2017.pdf

Educator summer 2017  

http://www.aeufederal.org.au/application/files/9915/0968/2926/Educator_Summer_2017.pdf

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