Poststructuralist thoughts about the history of Indigenous higher education policy in the Northern Territory.

Year: 2018

Author: Street, Catherine, Smith, James, Guenther, John, Larkin, Steven, Tracy, Woodroffe

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

There have been significant shifts in Indigenous higher education policy discourses and approaches in the Northern Territory (NT) over the past fifty years. The national policy setting, in particular, has had strong influence over how policies have been framed and implemented in the NT. The varying degree of Indigenous input into, and ownership over, Indigenous higher education policy development and review at Territory and national levels has also contributed to shifts in Indigenous higher education policy development throughout this time. These changing discourses and approaches have contributed to an evolution in how ‘success’ has been defined, as a term to imply that particular policies have had impact. As the higher education sector has become increasingly corporatised through a series of deregulatory policy changes, the most prominent policy discourse at present focuses on measuring ‘outcomes’. Often the outcomes that are used to determine policy success, though, are reflective of a narrow range of worldviews and knowledges. Our presentation will apply poststructuralist thinking to review the evolution of measures that have been used to determine the impact of Indigenous higher education policy in the NT, where approximately thirty per cent of the population is Indigenous, and where parity of outcomes for Indigenous students – as one way to measure impact – has not yet been achieved.