Enough’s enough: What ‘alternative’ education options do Indigenous students have in Australia beyond mainstream schooling?

Year: 2019

Author: Bishop, Michelle

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

For tens of thousands of years, Indigenous Peoples in the country now known as Australia have had a very successful education system in place, from place. Currently, many Indigenous students experience systemic harm in Australia's public and private schooling systems at unacceptable levels and are consistently positioned as deficient in both the practices and outcomes of formal schooling. Under the pretense of ‘getting a good education’, many Indigenous students feel coerced into compliance, with schools used as vehicles of institutionalisation, indoctrination and assimilation. And yet, for most Indigenous students, there is little choice but to participate in Western schooling. It is compulsory. This leaves few options available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to escape the harmful nature of mainstream schooling beyond school refusal. This research will review the literature to explore the possibilities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to learn outside of colonial-controlled schooling by examining ‘alternative’ education options in Australia. A specific focus will be on critical and emancipatory education grounded in Aboriginal axiologies, ontologies and epistemologies. This research aims to provide the foundations necessary for self-determining education to become a reality for Indigenous Peoples; to envision an educational future that will strengthen and empower future generations.