Indigenous education moving in the right direction

Indigenous education is moving in the right direction but has a long way to go, Chris Sarra, executive director of the Stronger Smarter Institute at QUT, said today.

Dr Sarra was responding to the Federal Government’s annual report on Closing the Gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

“From an educational perspective, I’m content that things are moving in the right direction,’’ he said.

 “Obviously there’s a long way to go and the notion of closing the gaps is very complex. In fact, part of what makes it complex is knowing which gaps need to be closed.

“We are at a place where we realise that it’s not Aborigines and children in Aboriginal communities that are so broken; we are at least entertaining the notion that the way we deliver educational services is perhaps more broken.”

Dr Sarra said it had been announced at a conference at QUT’s Stronger Smarter Institute last year that the tide of low expectations for Indigenous students in schools had changed.

“’We have moved beyond the tipping point at which we hoped for a better future for Aboriginal children to where we now expect a brighter future for Aboriginal children,’’ Dr Sarra said.

“Of course, changing the tide of low expectations is one thing; the tide has yet to flow in some places, and in some places the gaps are already closed.”

Dr Sarra said while attitudes had shifted, a lot more work had to be done.

“The one thing we must be certain of is that it’s a long hard road ahead.”

He said he was pleased Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard had made education a high profile issue for all children, particularly Indigenous children and those from disadvantaged areas.

“The My School website has ushered in a new era of accountability and transparency,’’ he said.

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