Indigenous perspectives of ‘success’ in higher education policy in the NT.

Year: 2018

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

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Since the 1960s, there has been a progressive increase in the number of Indigenous people represented in the higher education student body in the Northern Territory (NT). This has slowly led to increases in Indigenous people within the NT workforce, including within government and policy-making roles with higher education qualifications. But parity in higher education student outcomes with the non-Indigenous population has not yet been achieved, and the under-representation of Indigenous people in senior leadership roles in government and in higher education institutions continues. There has been a gradual disbanding of several Indigenous education consultative groups in the NT and nationally over time, which we posit has contributed to this. The result is that Indigenous higher education policies are largely developed, implemented and reviewed by non-Indigenous people who may hold different opinions about what the purpose of education is, and what ‘success’ constitutes. This presentation will report on the findings of research investigating the perspectives of a group of Indigenous ‘users’ of policy in the NT about the purpose of education and what constitutes policy ‘success’. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with fourteen NT Indigenous higher education experts. As the population group targeted by such policies, we will reflect on how their perspectives compare with definitions of success as they are currently situated within higher education policy frameworks.