Hughes Report, 1988.
Support Programs at Adelaide Uni, and Flinders Uni. At Salisbury, Roseworthy, off-campus centres: Murray Bridge. Ngarrindjeri students at other country study centres: Port Lincoln.
Ngarrindjeri language project, 1986-1987? Brian Kirke and Marlene.
 ‘… Aborigines all over the country, whether or not they are traditionally oriented, are becoming increasingly committed to an Australian-European type of lifestyle and belief system, in varying degrees. … a growing awareness of the uniqueness of their own heritage is being counter-balanced by the construction of an overall, generalised, Aboriginal heritage, that could override the survival prospects of particular regional heritages [the survival of heritages: meaning what ? by definition, a southern Aboriginal heritage is something no longer, a memory, something people cherish in the midst of a radically different daily life] relevant to many different Australian Aboriginal cultures. This is a crucial point – but it is one about which Aborigines themselves must make up their minds.’ [So four options, at least as thought experiments] [there are others, as long as nobody consciously thinks about them]:
strive to go back to a totally traditional life, with traditional values, religion, economy, etc., specific to original groups, purging all aspects of European/modern/contemporary influence from daily life, striving to be, or raising one’s children to be, blissfully ignorant of the outside world;
i.e. removing oneself and one’s group from the contemporary world altogether:
the traditionalist-culturalist approach.
strive to develop a unique synthesis of what are perceived the best of the specific and local traditional world and the most convenient of the modern world;
i.e. retreating into a localised, parochial and closed world, still dependent on outside financial support, but ideologically hostile to and excluding it, at least rhetorically:
the welfare-culturalist approach.
strive to synthesise a common neo-Aboriginal world, based on the range of (neo-)traditions nation-wide, even world-wide (Canadians, Maoris, etc.) and including, or taking for granted, whatever is useful or convenient from the contemporary world;
i.e. creating an contemporary but oppositional, or complementary, indigenous world, and striving to put together a composite, homogeneous, holistic, but non-European, package:
the oppositionalist-radical-culturalist approach.
strive to keep an Aboriginal heritage alive as heritage, promoting it to the world and teaching it to one’s children, but actively taking in and promoting whatever is seen as most useful the contemporary world, vehicles and mobility, computers, TV, modern medicine, higher education, etc.,
i.e. getting by in the mainstream of the contemporary world both as individuals and as voluntary communities: the liberal and communitarian self-determinationist approaches.
People are trying all of these approaches, in a vast range of variations, not necessarily consciously but in everyday life. There probably never will be a unified approach, since people are viewing their realities, their knowledges, from so many different perspectives. People’s realities and positions vary, their individual histories and memories of past realities vary, their interpretations of present-day realities therefore vary, so their approaches, viewpoints, paradigms, frameworks, world-views and ideologies vary immensely, probably from one individual to another, and within the one individual over time, and always will. There is now no overarching paradigm to which more or less everybody will adhere, or any one set of social relations in which everybody knows their place, and agrees to stay in it. As time passes, Aboriginal realities, knowledges, perspectives etc. will become ever more differentiated, less overlapping let alone unified, although new focal paradigms will emerge as notions, ideas, perceptions, world-views coalesce or crystallise.
Not only are Aboriginal viewpoints multitudinous, but it is pure assimilationism to pretend that they are all one and that to say otherwise is ‘divide and conquer’. They are not all one, never have been, and may never be. People’s material circumstances are not all the same, access to heritage and reliance on it are not all the same (let alone the same heritage), and their interpretation of those circumstances and of the options which these circumstances constrain or encourage, are not all the same; and there is an immense range of possible interpretations and explanations to fix on for any one situation, let alone for the whole shebang. It is not a question of one or many, but one of which ideological positions are being developed, or can be allied – can all progressive ideological positions on a certain issue (such as Reconciliation, Land Rights, Education for Self-Determination) be brought into alignment, alliance, coalition, cooperation ? Or are many positions and viewpoints so fatally flawed that they can only be brought together for negative purposes, or in a patron-client alliance, or on the basis of raw power, or control of the money tree, or in momentary anger at yet another governmental blunder ?
Meningie – 1998 paper
Current population about 1000. 38 professional fishermen use Meningie as a base. Lake Albert is 25 km long, 7 – 14 km wide, and 166 sq. km in area, average depth 1.5 m. Coorong stretches 150 km to just past Salt Creek, 200m to 3 km wide, up to 4 m deep, 3 times as salty as the ocean. Before Europeans, ‘because of the proximity of the fresh water of the lakes, the ocean and climate, it was a life of hunting kangaroos, wallabies and emus, catching the plentiful ducks and waterfowl, netting the rich Coorong waters for fish and eating the many edible plants growing in the area.’ ‘Camp Coorong 10 km south of Meningie was founded in 1986 as one of the first aboriginal educational and cultural centres in the country.’
Australian, 2/3.5.92: 9
Jerry Mason Centre aiming to establish the first Ngarrindjeri language centre. Agnes Rigney, co-ordinator.
Impact of AEWs, Interventions etc.
In a very real sense, Aboriginal children have rarely ever been provided with the same education as white kids. When they have, it is highly questionable whether or not it has done them as much harm as the ‘different’ education they have endured over the past hundred years. For example, from the early seventies, a number of interventions were introduced ostensibly to help Aboriginal students get more out of education: AEWs, changes to the curriculum, community involvement, etc. Have they worked ? Or is it possible that the interventions have actually been counter-productive ? Is it even possible that they have done dreadful damage to yet another generation of Aboriginal children ?
If current interventions were working, then one would expect that the schools at which they were applied would have better enrolments right to the end of Year 12. This seems to be a fair measure of school success. If this were so, then Year 12 students would tend to be in the schools with larger Aboriginal populations than in those with few Aboriginal enrolments, because the larger the school, the more interventions, the more likely the employment of AEWs, and so on. A crude measure but one which is hard to beat: if interventions were working, then the more likely they were employed, the more students would be getting through to Year 12. Is this so ?
For a start, the schools with the largest Aboriginal populations tend to be in the country, yet the relative likelihood (i.e. relative to the State-wide likelihood) of an Aboriginal student reaching Year 12 in a country school fell from 76 % to 59 % from 1993 to 1996 (while the relative likelihood in the city rose from 132 % to 169 %). In other words, the likelihood of an Aboriginal student reaching Year 12 in the city in 1996 was nearly seventy percent higher than in the country:
Yr 8-11Yr. 12Yr 8-11Yr. 12
1993: Nos: 472 59 (22-37) 531 50 (24-26)
%: 47 % 54 % 53 % 46 %
1996: Nos: 550 44 (18-26) 636 31 (16-15)
%: 46 % 59 % 54 % 41 %
As well, one would expect, if the interventions were working, that the larger the Aboriginal population in a school the more effective the interventions would be, or at least that they would be more effective (i.e. in assisting students get through to Year 12) if the Aboriginal school population was larger than the median size. That is, that there would be more Year 12 students at schools with larger than average (median) numbers of Aboriginal students in Years 8 to 11. Schools with smaller than average numbers of Aboriginal children in Years 8 to 11 would be less likely to employ an AEW, or to spend time and money devising intervention strategies. But what is the actual situation ?
In 1993, in city schools, the median (middle) Year 12 student was attending a school with fewer Year 8 to 11 students (nine for girls, ten for boys) than were enrolled at the median school (twelve to thirteen students). In country schools, the trend was small but insignificant, although, even there, not in the direction which would support the pro-intervention viewpoint.
Median, Yr 8-11: 12-13 Yr 8-11 students 41 Yr 8-11 students
Median, Yr 12, M: 10 Yr 8-11 students 41 Yr 8-11 students
Median, Yr 12, F: 9 Yr 8-11 students 39 Yr 8-11 students
By 1996, the disparity between Year 12 median and Year 8 to 11 median had increased, even though the median itself had declined as Aboriginal students seemed to disperse to more schools. By 1996, in city schools, the middle female Year 12 student was in fact attending a school with only six other Aboriginal students, far too small to warrant any major interventions at all, yet there were as many female Aboriginal Year 12 students in schools with fewer, as with more, than six Aboriginal students at Years 8 to 11.
In the country, this trend also occurred: even though the median school had more Year 8 to 11 students enrolled, the median Year 12 students, male and female, were attending schools with far fewer Year 8 to 11 students than the median school.
Median, Yr 8-11: 9 Yr 8-11 students 55 Yr 8-11 students
Median, Yr 12, M: 8 Yr 8-11 students 16 Yr 8-11 students
Median, Yr 12, F: 6 Yr 8-11 students 31 Yr 8-11 students
So, not only was a higher proportion of Indigenous Year 12 students attending city schools, but the average (median) number of Indigenous students at Years 8 to 11 at which the average (median) Year 12 student was enrolled was far below the level at which interventions would be employed. If the interventions were actually working, the trend would be in the opposite direction: that is, the more opportunities to employ interventions (AEWs, curriculum change, etc) the more likely students would remain at school through to Year 12. But they were remaining at schools which would be less likely to employ interventions.
In fact, if interventions were working, all other things being equal, the mere fact that the median city school had a Year 8 to 11 population median far below the country median would suggest that there would be far more Year 12 students at country schools. Even more so, that if the interventions were doing the trick, then there should be hardly any Year 12 students at city schools, while the great bulk should be attending country schools, and the larger the school the more likely that Year 12 students were enrolled there. But the trend was precisely in the opposite direction: a solid majority of Year 12 students were attending city schools, and the bulk of Year 12 students were in schools with below-average Aboriginal enrolments.
More disturbing, are the figures for changes in actual Year 12 enrolments from 1993 to 1996, as a proportion of total enrolments:
1993 12.5 % 9.4 %
1996 8.2 % 4.5 %
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the position of AEWs, the imposition of an adapted curriculum and the introduction of more ‘culturally appropriate’ learning styles were consolidated. The impact on Year 12 numbers was well under way by the mid-nineties. And what was that impact – was it positive or negative ? The figures suggest that these interventions have been catastrophically negative: not only are country students doing much worse than city students, exploding at least one racist myth (that the country is more ‘natural’ for Aboriginal children than the city), but the Year 12 participation rate in both country and city schools collapsed, by around fifty percent in country schools.
One could predict that no official analysis of these figures will occur in the foreseeable future: racists can rest content that the destruction of the education of young Aboriginal people will continue for a long time yet, with older unqualified Aboriginal people – dependent on the only jobs they are likely to get - willingly participating.
DETYA, from ABS Census 1996: DETYA Statistical Profile (1999?)
Overall, 1996: 22.7 %. For those with post-secondary qualification: 12.4 %.
[But let’s look more closely at these figures. The overall figures obviously do not include participants in the work-for-the-dole Scheme, CDEP. If they did, the overall figure would be over 40 %, not just double, but nearly four times the rate for qualified Indigenous people.
But let’s unpack the second figure as well: it would include University, TAFE, ‘Other post-secondary qualifications’. Since some of the last are preparation, or non-specific qualifications, to put it nicely self-described as having post-secondary qualifications, we could surmise that the unemployment rate of such people would be only a little better than those with no qualifications at all, say 30 %. They would form the bulk of the category of ‘those with post-secondary qualifications.’
Of the rest, qualified tradespeople and university graduates, their unemployment rate would then come down to about 7 or 8 %, not particularly higher than that for non-Indigenous people, taking between-jobs and re-location unemployment. And certainly a lot lower than the rate for Indigenous people generally, in whom they are included. What if we could separate those with, from those without, post-secondary qualifications, since the first category now constitutes some 35 % of the total Indigenous population ? i.e. 15 % at 7 – 8 % unemployment, 20 % of the population at 30 % unemployment. This leaves 65 % of those in the work force, with an unemployment rate of more than 50 %.
Identifying different rates for different categories of all those Indigenous people in the work-force, we can now see that the comparison is not 22.7 % for those without qualifications, with 12.4 % for those with qualifications, but more likely 50 % against 7 or 8 %.
In 1998, over 100,000 Indigenous students in schools, 3.2 % of all students. Perhaps another 50,000 pre-schoolers. A twenty-year pool of about 170,000, and increasing.
The population trough bottomed out in about 1980-1982, and the birth rate rose sharply from 1983 to the present. In 1999, those at the front of the wave, i.e. at the back of the trough, turned 16 or 17, and have as many years of cohorts behind them. If they hit tertiary education in about 2003, expect the wave to keep rising until at least 2020.
If an enormous amount of work was done now, to encourage secondary students to come straight on to tertiary study instead of wandering in the wilderness for five and ten years, then the negative effects of the ten-year trough can be counter-balanced by younger uptakes over the next crucial five years, by which time the wave will have reached post-secondary age.
If the equivalent of two age-groups are at university at present, then if publicity was improved, fairly soon expect total enrolments to start rising, from ten to twelve to fifteen thousand, and after about 2010, to twenty thousand, with a seventh of that total graduating each year, i.e. from 1500 at present to two thousand per year by about 2006, and three thousand per year by about 2010. Total graduate numbers will rise rapidly again:
End of Year:
growth rate %
These final figures, 60-72,000 Indigenous university graduates, represent only about a quarter of the likely available pool. Even so, the Exceptions better start getting their anti-mass-education arguments ready. Of course, over the next twenty years, a bare undergraduate award will lose value, but with a greater and greater pool of role models, most graduates will be completing postgraduate awards as well. Life will never be easy for the Exceptions trying to keep ahead of the mob:
End of Year:
growth rate %
Ngarrindjeri Ngrilkulun, Oct. 23-24 1999
Two days of performances, cultural workshops, gatherings, stalls, feasts.
Adelaide Declaration, April 1999
3 .1 ‘students’ outcomes from schooling are free from the effects of negative forms of discrimination based on sex, language, culture or ethnicity, religion or disability … ‘
One Hundred Ngarrindjeri University Graduates by 2010 ?
Write this ourselves ?
ATSI tertiary education has been a phenomenal success story over the past twenty years, thanks to two factors: Indigenous Support Programs, and ABSTUDY/ATAS:
By the end of 1990, about 260 undergraduates, about 40 post-graduate awards, 300 awards all up.
By the end of 1995, about 500 graduates, with 600 awards, i.e. about 80 post-graduates, some with more than one award (a handful have up to four or more awards each).
So: by the end of 2000, we can expect (even with a slow-down) about 850-900 graduates with 1,050-1100 awards between them.
Comments: drastic slow-down in the growth in the numbers of teachers, nurses, etc. but plethora of graduating fields.
By end of 2005,
Minimum: 1,200 graduates with 1,200 awards.
Maximum: 1,300 graduates with 1,400 awards.
* since 1980, in South Australia, ATSI tertiary enrolments have increased tenfold; annual and total graduate numbers are twenty five times greater; a similar picture nationally;
* there are now more ATSI students at university than in Year 11 and 12, more people enrolled at postgraduate level than in Year 12, and possibly more postgraduates each year than matriculants. More ATSI people start university courses each year than start Year 11 (between 200 and 260 in South Australia; 4000 across Australia);
* total enrolments are equivalent to more than 1.5 age-cohorts. New UG award enrolments total more than 60 % of an age-cohort. New undergraduate completion numbers each year now total better than 20 % of an age-cohort; postgraduate completions about 8 % of an age-cohort;
* Indigenous adults make up just on 1 % of the total SA adult population, but about 1.4 % of the total SA tertiary student population. Indigenous female adults likewise make up only 1 % of the total SA adult female population, but nearly 1.6 % of all SA female tertiary students;
* total graduate numbers (under-, post-, Masters and doctoral) are consistently doubling every five to six years, and the growth is faster at the higher levels. Most graduates (about 65-70 %) are female. Graduate rates are rapidly approaching national non-Indigenous rates: for postgraduates, Indigenous annual graduations are better than 70 % of parity and the gap is closing at 5-10 % p.a. Total graduate numbers now total the equivalent of two, close to three, age-cohorts, or more than 7 % of all Aboriginal adults (10 % of those aged between 25 and 50). A quarter of all adult working Aboriginal women are graduates and this proportion is likely to double by 2010.
S.A. Graduate Growth Scenarios Quanta of enrolments, performance, attrition, retention, graduation and re-enrolment are functions of input factors (demography, educational level, funding, education policy) and throughput factors (program competence and effort), as well as perceived output factors (employment opportunities, community link maintenance, employment policy). It is not likely that actual quantitative outcome plateaus will vary unless any or some of these factors vary or, more to the point, can be influenced to vary. But most factors are not set in stone: there is enormous room for positive change. How is the question.
There is a host of factors which will affect growth in graduate numbers over the next twenty years, so predictions must range from the barest increases to the most optimistic. The following figures therefore range from the lowest likely figures to the highest, taking into account that:
* growth in the entry age-group is expected to rise rapidly in about four years from now, for at least ten years, from 300-320 to 450-500 in South Australia, and from 5000 to 8000 nation-wide; i.e. by a factor of up to 1.6. * qualifying the above, since the demographic bulge will not really affect tertiary numberts until those at the front of the bulge are close to thirty: if the median age of enrolment could be reduced by much earlier intervention and publicity, from the current 28 or so down to 24 or so, over let’s say ten years, then the impact of this telescoping may be to increase the take-up rate by about 5 or 6 % p.a. from about 2006 to 2012;
* universities' publicity and recruitment expertise is bound to improve over the next few years; i.e. by a factor of perhaps 1.5 (USA) to 2 (Flinders). * retention rates similarly must increase slowly in the next few years with the extension of ATAS; i.e. there is room for improvement by a factor of up to 1.3. * improvements in secondary performance and transfer to universities must surely start to increase sooner or later, in spite of current counter-productive interventions; i.e. there is enormous scope for improvement here, up to a factor of 4 or 5. However, this factor is not independent of overall tertiary commencements. * as graduate numbers rise, students returning to postgraduate study will increase in numbers exponentially; i.e. immediately, this could increase total commencements by a factor of 1.1 - 1.2, but as graduate numbers increase, so does the pool for post-graduates; for example, by the year 2005, this factor could have increased to 1.8 - 2. * as more graduates interact with the community, their examples must surely boost new enrolment numbers; i.e., in many communities, nobody has ever yet carried out any publicity at all. But it is not inconceivable that each current graduate influences, say over a five-year period, one other person to enrol; i.e. impacts on total enrolment numbers by a factor of 1.1;
For these reasons, although many of them overlap, the following estimates vary by a range of almost 2-300 %: demographics x retention x PG transfer alone cover this. Total growth factor inputs could amount to six (6.2) times current first-time-graduation rates, i.e. up to the equivalent of the entire current age-group, of five thousand nationally, and three hundred in SA, annually.
Currently, (1997) annual new enrolments in SA total about 270, as follows:
* about 150 (55%) starting UG courses for the first time,
or the equivalent of 44-47 % of EAG-20 (i.e. Equivalent Age-Group of 20-year-olds),
or 50-55 % of EAG-28.
(Aust Yr Bk 96-97: 285: Median age rising; now 23.4 yrs. 1.76 age-groups at uni, of which 133,000 PG. Thus 452,575 at UG level, or roughly 1.36 age-groups. Of 8000 ATSI at uni, maybe 7000 at UG level, or 1.3-1.4 age-groups. Parity. Now for the PGs.)
South Australia (for National figures, multiply by 12-14) (Scenario 1) NEW NEW TOTAL NEW Post-TOTALTOTAL
YR TOTAL AGE-GP YR 12 TERTIARY U/Grad U/GradP/GradP/Grad GRAD.
ENROL’T Nos Nos ENROL'TS Nos Nos Nos. Nos. Nos
1994 550 320 110 240 45 495 15 100 600
1995 550 320 98 230 50 545 18 118 668
1996 550 340 100 218 55 600 21 139 736
1997 560 350 100 220 55 655 23 162 814
1998 570 360 108 225 60 715 25 187 900
1999 580 380 110 230 65 780 28 215 993
2000 590 400 112 235 70 850 32 247 1100
2002 610 440 120 250 90 1020 40 323 1350
2005 650 500 140 270 110 1320 60 473 1800
2010 700 550 180 300 140 2000 90 850 2850 NOTE: Some post-graduates may have gained more than one PG award, so total awards gained may be much greater than the accumulated totals above. For example, by 2010, total awards gained in SA may exceed 3000.
In fact, if a more optimal situation were to prevail,
* if ATAS is maintained;
* if recruitment and publicity through unis and AICAP were really
* as age-group numbers rapidly increase;
* if Year 12 numbers improve at a much greater rate, i.e. if Ab.Ed. policy
* if boys/men can be switched on to study rather than suicide;
* if ATSI people could either use TAFE as a bridge to higher education, or
abandon it as the fraud that it has become;
* if CDEP participants are required to enrol in some study, 3,000 in SA
(see Appendix Ca below for elaboration of each of these factors)
the figures could look more like this:
South Australia (for National figures, multiply by 10-12) (Scenario 2) 17-y.o. NEW NEW TOTAL NEW Post-TOTALTOTAL
YR TOTAL AGE-GP YR 12 TERTIARY U/Grad U/GradP/GradP/Grad GRAD.
ENROL’T Nos Nos ENROL'TS Nos Nos Nos. Nos. Nos
1994 550 320 110 240 45 495 15 100 600
1995 550 320 98 230 50 545 18 118 668
1996 550 340 100 218 55 600 21 139 736
1997 560 350 100 220 55 655 23 162 814
1998 570 360 100 225 60 715 25 187 900
1999 580 380 100 230 65 780 30 217 1000
2000 600 400 105 240 75 855 35 252 1107
2001 620 420 110 250 80 935 40 292 1227
2002 640 440 115 260 85 1020 48 340 1360
2003 660 460 120 275 95 1115 58 400 1500
2004 680 480 125 290 105 1220 70 470 1670
2005 700 500 130 310 120 1340 85 555 1900
2006 720 520 140 330 135 1475 100 655 2130
2007 750 540 150 350 150 1625 120 775 2400
2008 780 560 160 370 160 1785 140 915 2700
2009 800 580 170 380 170 1945 160 1075 3020
2010 820 600 180 400 180 2125 180 1255 3380 Even these figures, esp. Yr 12, New Enrolments, and Total Enrolment figures, may be too low. As well, a higher proportion of enrolments could be of post-graduate enrolments, especially at Masters level from 1997, and Doctorate level from 2000.
Total Indigenous adult population could rise (after the demographic dip in the years to 2000) from 10,000 in 1996, to 11,000 in 2001, to 12,200 in 2006, and to 14,000 in 2010. Thus the proportion of graduates in the adult population (allowing for interstate migration) should rise from 6 % in 1996, to 8.5 % in 2001, to nearly 11 % in 2005, and more than fifteen percent in 2010. In terms of gender, this last figure would break down in to nearly twenty percent of all adult women, but only twelve percent of adult men.
Postgraduates will make up an increasing proportion of total graduates between now and 2010. Even by the year 2005, most graduates could be postgraduates by today’s definition: perhaps it will be standard for ATSI graduates to have four years instead of two or three by 2005. By 2010, most of these may be Masters'. In 2005, most PGs will be at least at Masters level (there seems to be a preference amongst post-graduate students to be enrolled in Master’s awards rather than Grad. Dip. or Honours level awards), and a substantial proportion of those will be at doctorate level. The overwhelming majority of all graduates will be urban-based, in fact metropolitan, and female. Most ATSI women in the workforce will have postgraduate qualifications by 2010.
Adelaide Uni Marina Rigney BA Janis Koolmatrie, M.Ed.St.
Dana Shen BA 57/19
Uni of SA UBTE Alice Sumner (Willoughby)
58 / 19
DCCV George Wilson
UBDL Damien Shen
MBSW Justin Smith?
MBCE Louisa Schapel? 63/19
U/Grads in: Teaching (ECE, JP, Primary, Secondary, Adult), Accounting, Ab. Admin/SW/CD/AS, Science, Business Management, Conservation and Park Management, Agriculture, Arts, Nursing, Jurisprudence, Community Services, Community Work.
2010 630 450 120 270 130 2100 This could represent about fifteen percent of all Indigenous adults in the state, or about twenty percent of all women, and ten to eleven percent of all men.
Indigenous Tertiary Participation: getting the figures right
This small paper attempts to clarify the current level of Indigenous participation at tertiary level and to reassure all those concerned that this current level of participation is, contrary to concerns expressed in the recent Stanley-Hansen Report to ATSIC (1998), at or above par:
In short, that:
although the Indigenous population contribute two percent of the total national population, as Stanley and Hansen (ATSIC, 1998) assert,
Indigenous age-cohorts at sub-tertiary ages contribute up to four percent of their respective national age-cohorts,
to such an extent that the median age of Indigenous Australians (the age at which there are just as many younger as older) is barely eighteen, while the median age of Australians generally is over thirty, and
Indigenous adults contribute only 1.3 percent of the national adult population, not the two percent assumed by Stanley and Hansen;
for this reason alone, observers at the University of South Australia can be reassured that Indigenous student numbers, at 1.6 percent of the total enrolment, are more than holding their own, and can be cautiously optimistic about the future for mass Indigenous tertiary education at this University.
How can this be, how have Aboriginal people succeeded in gaining parity with non-Aboriginal people at university, the highest level of education, given the generations of exclusionary and discriminatory treatment endured by Indigenous people in this country ? How has this come about, given the elitist and upper-class stereotype which tertiary education is still burdened with and yet the overwhelmingly working class nature of the Indigenous student body ?
ATSI tertiary education has been a phenomenal success story over the past fifteen years, thanks to two factors: Indigenous Support Programs, and ABSTUDY/ATAS:
since 1980, in South Australia, ATSI enrolments have increased tenfold; annual and total graduate numbers are twenty five times greater now than they were then;
there are now more ATSI students at university than in Year 10 to 12, more people enrolled at postgraduate level than in Year 12, and possibly more postgraduates each year than matriculants. More ATSI people start university courses each year than start Year 11 (between 200 and 260);
total enrolments are equivalent to more than 1.5 age-cohorts. New enrolments total about 50-60 % of an age-cohort. Graduate numbers each year now total better than 20 % of an age-cohort;
Indigenous adults make up just over 1 % of the total SA adult population, but between 1.5 and 1.7 % of the total SA tertiary student population. Indigenous female adults likewise make up only 1 % of the total SA adult female population, but about 2 % of all SA female tertiary students;
total graduate numbers (under-, post-, Masters and doctoral) are consistently doubling every five to six years, and the growth is faster at the higher levels. Most graduates (about 65-70 %) are female. Total graduate numbers now total the equivalent of two age-cohorts, or more than 7 % of all Aboriginal adults in South Australia. A quarter of all adult working Aboriginal women are graduates and this proportion is likely to double by 2010, to more than fifty percent.
The median ATSI student (median = as many older as are younger) is between twenty six and twenty nine years, about two to five years older than the non-ATSI median student, which is greater than commonly realised, at about twenty four years. This is especially so in the case of external students.
The Aboriginal population in South Australia rose rapidly through the sixties and into the seventies. The birth rate dropped rapidly from the late sixties: Aboriginal mothers who started their families before about 1966-1968, or who remained on some mission stations, still tended to have large families, six and eight children; mothers who started their families after about 1968, and those who had moved to the city, tended to have no more than two or three children. Birth cohorts actually declined in numbers, from about 420 born annually in the late sixties, down to 320-360 in the late seventies, to a nadir of only 280-320 or so in 1983.
Proviso: Of course, these figures are reliant on Census data at the time, and are distorted by social in-migration (re-identification) since the figures were collected.
For reasons that are unclear (perhaps relating to the introduction of CDEP), birth-cohort numbers started to rise rapidly from about 1984-1985, and were still rising until the mid-nineties: recent birth cohorts in South Australia have been as high as 600, almost twice (with the above proviso in mind) those of the mid-eighties. Nationally, in fact, recent rises in the Indigenous birth rate have been so great that, of the 0-5 age-group, as counted in the last Census, Indigenous numbers made up more than four percent of the national total population in this age-group.
For these reasons, these sub-tertiary age-cohorts comprise some fifty percent of the total Indigenous population nationally and in this state, compared to the barely thirty or thirty five percent which young people generally comprise of the total national and state populations.
Conversely, Indigenous people have continued to endure high death rates amongst adults: it is still very common for friends and relations to pass away in their forties and fifties. In fact, it is still rare to find an Indigenous person, given the dreadful effects of past policies, who is older than seventy years.
The upshot of this is that, amongst Indigenous people, a far smaller percentage of the population is of adult age. Using data from the 1996 Census (Cat. No. 2020.0):
Australia-wide, forty eight percent of Indigenous people were aged twenty and over; the comparable figure for non-Indigenous people was seventy two percent;
this translates into populations respectively of 170,000, and 12,952,000. In other words, Indigenous adults made up only 1.3 percent of the total adult population in 1996.
We respectfully recommend that this figure of 1.3 % be used for the time being, as the benchmark for Indigenous participation levels. This figure will need to be modified continuously over the next fifty years as the demographic bulge works its way through the population profile. It will, in fact, dip slightly over the next five years, to 1.2 %, before starting to rise again, by about 0.05 % p.a., to Stanley and Hansen’s two percent by about 2015, and three percent by about 2025-2030.
Total teachers to end 1999, S.A.: = 182 UG + 16+ Dip.Ed. + 44+ PG