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The Forum > Article Comments > Transformations in Indigenous higher education > Comments

Transformations in Indigenous higher education : Comments

By Joe Lane, published 9/12/2009

For a generation now tertiary education has been the quiet success story for Indigenous people.

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Joe,

Beaut article mate. What you are highlighting is how indigenous culture has survived 40,000 years. It and it's people have been smart enough to adapt to changing environments and conditions throughout that period. That is simply continuing.

I think we are, as Australians, in future generations more likely to embrace the Indigenous culture that develops out of the current sharing of the two dominant Australian cultures.

Great eh?
Posted by keith, Wednesday, 9 December 2009 8:55:28 PM
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Dear Keith,
I have an indigenous brother in Christ and I sometimes attend their family service . The message he preaches is that the culture of the cross leads to an abundent life. the culture of ancestry is witchcraft and leads to death. Another one of his favourites is that aboriginal boys don't brop their balls till mid 40's so do not act responcibly. The words of wisdom from a true gentle, man of God respected by "all" in our local comunity. Education is a step in the right direction but unless truth is taught heart ache and disapointment will follow
Posted by Richie 10, Thursday, 10 December 2009 12:30:08 AM
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>>For a generation now, tertiary education has been the quiet success story for Indigenous people. Back in 1980, there were only about 400 Indigenous tertiary graduates across the whole of Australia, but by the end of this year, the total will be more than 25,000: thatís one in every nine or ten Indigenous adults.Currently, enrolments and graduations are at record levels. Women especially are doing well - in fact, Indigenous women (aged 18 to 59) are commencing tertiary study at a better rate (2.45 per cent) than non-Indigenous Australian men (2.26 per cent). With a boom in the birth-rate since the 80s, it is possible that a total of 50,000 Indigenous people could be university graduates by 2020. One hundred thousand Indigenous people could be university graduates by 2034 - this is certainly possible, and this could be one of the targets for the 25-year Indigenous Education Plan.<<

Joe, On these stats, there is obviously nothing wrong with the education system in this Country. As for the emerging Aboriginal academics? Well, we will definitely need more uni's and TAFEs to create more and larger indigenous units to accommodate them. As they are virtually, Unemployable, anywhere else. As per my website whitc.info (if active)or on Crickey with Bob Gosford. Arthur Bell.
Posted by bully, Thursday, 10 December 2009 3:47:02 PM
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Thank you for your comments but, as a grumpy old man, I have to disagree:

Keith:

* culture is learned, it is not innate, culture is not biology: to equate the two is to start down the slippery slope of racism;

* Indigenous people are as intelligent, and able to learn, as anybody else;

* there actually has been a complete disjuncture between traditional and modern culture and Indigenous people are as able as anybody else to live and interact in a modern world, and have been since the earliest days of the Invasion;

Richie, your informant is an idiot. Find someone with more sense.

Bully,

That's exactly what I was NOT saying - the primary and secondary sectors are still under-performing terribly, and the tertiary sector would still be too, if it were not for interventionist programs such as the publicity, recruitment, preparation and support programs, which some wonderful people are trying to keep going, in the face of vicious opposition from Indigenous Studies staff, in collusion with opportunist university administrations.

Yes, there is still racism in employmentI I do know of unemployed graduates, ironically highly qualified but not fitting into the apartheid system which so many other Indigenous people, graduates and otherwise, are comfortable with, and which universities, government departments and unions are happy to maintain i.e. yes, there are graduates who are not content to be shunted into Indigenous units but - wonders ! - want to be treated as graduates, as employees, as PEOPLE.

And many Indigenous academics run a mile from working with their own people, they're too busy building their careers prattling rubbish to non-Indigenous students - the best staff working in Indigenous student support programs have often been, and still are, non-Indigenous. Yes, there certainly could be 50,000 graduates by 2020, and 100,000 by 2034, but most of them will not owe anything to Indigenous academics.

Joe Lane
Posted by Loudmouth, Saturday, 12 December 2009 3:01:17 PM
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<Indigenous women (aged 18 to 59) are commencing tertiary study at a better rate (2.45 per cent) than non-indigenous Australian men (2.26 per cent).>
If the reverse were true it would be damning evidence of indigenous and female disadvantage.
If equity is really the goal then clearly something must be done to redress this imbalance.
What makes young non-indigenous men less deserving than young indigenous women?
Need I ask?
They belong to the favoured class and they are therefore advantaged,
even if they aren't.
Perhaps non-indigenous Australian men should be eligible for all the extra lurks and perks that Abstudy recipients enjoy over Austudy recipients.
Maybe non-Indigenous Australian men should also be exempt from HECS fees until parity is achieved.
That would probably be racist and sexist.
How "indigenous" are all these people anyway?
6.25%?
3.125%?
Having had to interview an indigenous student in a group household,
I was unable to differentiate the "indigenous" student from his non-indigenous house-mates.
They all looked the same.
The only differences between them was that he wouldn't be graduating with a HECS debt and they would;
he received rent allowance and they didn't.
He'd won the lottery.
His great, great, great grandma was an Aboriginal.
In another time and place it would be called apartheid.
It is, in fact, racism.
Posted by HermanYutic, Saturday, 12 December 2009 10:34:58 PM
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Hi Herman,

Thanks for your entertaining comments.

No, Indigenous students are not exempt from HECS.

Rent allowance ? This is the first I ever heard of such a thing, but thanks, I'll look into it.

Yes, over the past two hundred years, authorities have had trouble defining what was to be meant by 'Aboriginal': in those few times when their labour was sought after, the definition was very strict, so that 'half-castes' and 'quarter-castes' were exempt and freer to move and work and live where they liked; while in more common times when their labour was not needed, the definition became very broad, so that anybody with Aboriginal ancestry was 'caught' by the definition and restricted accordingly. But usually, until the sixties, anybody with Aboriginal ancestry was barred from voting and drinking, usually barred from living in towns, not entitled to many government benefits and required to submit to random health examinations. Until 1962, here in SA (and other times in other states), Aboriginal women were not allowed to associate with non-Aboriginal men.

But of course, that's all decades ago !

Joe Lane
Posted by Loudmouth, Sunday, 13 December 2009 8:40:53 AM
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