indigenous-education-statement260608 by ashrafp


Indigenous Education State ment 2008


The University of Canberra (UC) has continued its commitment to Indigenous Higher
Education throughout 2008. In particular, UC observes the UC Council’s Charter of

       The Council of the University of Canberra affirms that
       reconciliation between Australia’s Indigenous peoples and other
       Australians is central to the renewal of this nation as a harmonious
       and just society, a society which lives out its national ethos of a fair
       go for all; and that until we achieve such reconciliation, this nation
       will remain diminished, whether as a monarchy or a republic.

       We believe that the University has a clear role in promoting
       understanding and acceptance of the history of the shared
       experience of the indigenous peoples and the wider community. We
       respect indigenous cultures and identity and encourage the
       University to identify ways in which, as a University community, we
       can work together in unity and harmony. As members of the Council,
       we regret that Australia’s indigenous peoples have been forced to
       bear an undue proportion of the costs of developing an Australian
       society, and that they do not yet enjoy a due proportion of its
       benefits. We pledge ourselves to work for an Australian society in
       which that can no longer be said and apologise for the wrongs that
       have been done.

The University values its links with the local Ngunnawal and Ngambri people, and offers
units of work for students that focus on Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander cultures. The
Ngunnawal Indigenous Higher Education Centre has a major role in the opera tio n
and imp le me ntatio n o f the University's Strategic Plan. This inc lud es support of
Indigenous students, learning and teaching, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
employment opportunities, and community relations.

                     UC Achievements, effectiveness, and outcomes for 2008, and plans for
      AEP Goals      the future.

1. 1. To establish      Throughout 2008, the University of Canberra (UC), under the
   effective            leadership of Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Parker, continued to
   arrange ments        implement the 2008-2012 strategic plan developed in 2007. The first
   for the              step in this Plan is to ‘Ensure that respect for Australia's traditional
   participation        owners and concern for their current circumstances influences our plans
   of Aboriginal        and actions.’
   and Torres 
   Strait Islander      plans/strategic-plan-2008-2012
   peoples in
   educational          Accordingly, the Vice-Chancellor established an Expert Reference
   decision-            Group - the Step One Group - to progress its aims. This group includes
   making.              membership from each of the ACT Indigenous Higher Education
                        Centres, DEEWR and ACT Department of Education and Training. The
                        first aim of the Group was to put in place an Action Plan for the

                        Under UC Policy, there is an Indigenous Education Strategy.
                        The strategy provides information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait
                        Islander education at the University.

                       In addition, Tom Calma, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social
                       Justice Commissioner and Race Discrimination Commissioner was
                       appointed by the Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory, to
                       the governing body, the UC Council.
                       Mr Calma is an Aboriginal Elder from the Kungarakan language group
                       and a member of the Iwaidja language group whose traditional lands are
                       south west of Darwin and on the Coburg Peninsula in Northern
                       Territory, respectively. He has been involved in Indigenous affairs at a
                       local, community, state, national and international level and worked in
                       the public sector for over 35 years.

                        Representation on the Academic Board
                  Committee for Ethics in Human Research

                  UC Student Association.

                  Equity and Diversity Action Group

                  Orientation Committee

                  Open Day Committee

2.     To       In 2008, the Ngunnawal Indigenous Higher Education Centre employed
increase the    two academic and 2 general staff members. Two of these are Indigenous.
number of       In addition, an Indigenous Academic Level A was employed within
Aboriginal      Nursing. A NIHEC Academic Level A has a 3- year scholarship to
and Torres      complete a PhD.
Islander        An Indigenous Student Equity Officer was employed on a contract basis.
employed in     In 2008, Indigenous staff participated in a range of professional
education       development programs offered by UC.
and training.   UC recognises that rate of employment of Indigenous staff within the
                University is not acceptable. The University has completed the
                development of an Indigenous Employment Strategy and looks forward to
                achieving positive outcomes with the implementation of this strategy using
                targets in alignment with ABS statistics for the University’s catchment
                area, which includes the Australian Capital Territory. It is envisaged that
                Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people recruited into the tertiary
                education sector will contribute significantly to social, cultural and
                academic development through skills and knowledge that ensure
                establishment of a culture that acknowledges and celebrates diversity while
                assisting the university to work towards cultural competency.

                The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy represents
                a commitment by UC to work collaboratively with Aboriginal and Torres
                Strait Islander communities and staff to encourage and provide
                opportunities for members of the community to contribute to the work of
                the University while enhancing the knowledge and skills base of
                Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff to ensure their access to a wide
                range of positions within the University and facilitate career development.
                The Strategy is developed under the auspices of the University’s
                Enterprise Agreement for 2006 to 2008 (Clause D10). UC's Aboriginal and
                Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy was not progressed in 2008,
                but it is planned that there will be a concerted effort in the second half of

3.      To         The Ngunnawal Indigenous Higher Education Centre’s main focus is the
ensure equitable   recruitment, access, participation, retention and success of Indigenous
access of          Australian students.
Aboriginal and     The Indigenous Foundation Program provides opportunities for Indigenous
Torres Strait      students to become comfortable with University life and to become familiar
Islander           with the requirements for study and communication in the higher education
students to        sector.
education and      In 2008 there was an increase in enrolments in the Foundation Program and
training           staff members developed alternative ways of delivering the program,
services.          including a tailored support program that was put into effect in Semester 2,
                   2008. Prior to the commencement of the IFP, students are participate in an
                   interview and a written assessment. This assessment is used to plan for the

                   The Centre is also considering the development of a distance education
                   Foundation Program.

                   The Centre delivers an Orientation Program each semester that is aligned
                   with events in the overall UC orientation.

                   To attract and retain Indigenous students the University offers
                   undergraduate Access scholarships, St Vincent de Paul Society
                   Undergraduate Scholarships and Charles Perkins Undergraduate
                   Scholarships (linked with ACT Dept of Education and Training). The
                   Ngunnawal Centre and Scholarships and Prizes are developing a strategy to
                   expand the number of prizes for Indigenous students in the Foundation
                   program. The University of Canberra recognises that scholarships play an
                   important role in ensuring access, participation, success and retention for
                   Indigenous students. Therefore the University seeks to increase the number
                   of scholarships available to students at undergraduate, postgraduate and
                   research degree levels.

                   Sixteen students accepted the offer of Indigenous Access Scholarships in

                   The Dean of Students is exploring ways of raising funds to provide
                   scholarships and throughout 2008 the Indigenous Student Equity Officer’s
                   role was primarily aimed at attracting Indigenous students to UC.

4. To ensure        NIHEC continues to administer the ITAS.
of Aboriginal       UC aims to enhance the Ngunnawal Centre’s profile, while maintaining
and Torres        the Centre’s core focus.
Strait Islander   The Ngunnawal Centre aims to increase the participation and success
students in       rates of Indigenous students in tertiary studies and increase the
education and     participation and success rates of Indigenous students in postgraduate
training.         studies.

                  UC has a comprehensive framework for the support of undergraduate
                  students through the Ngunnawal Centre and supervision and support of
                  postgraduate students articulated in the University’s ‘The Gold Book’.
                  One academic staff member undertook the ‘Supervision of Postgraduate
                  Students’ course in 2008.

                  Additional peer support and mentoring are offered through the
                  Ngunnawal Centre.
                  The Ngunnawal Centre aims to enhance its profile in terms of teaching
                  and learning for both staff and students and aims to provide training and
                  support for all Indigenous staff and students that will encourage higher
                  success and completion rates.
                  As the need for trained early childhood educators will increase
                  dramatically by the year 2012, the Centre has a focus on increasing the
                  number of qualified Indigenous early childhood educators through the
                  combined CIT/UC Bachelor of Early Childhood education degree.
                  Targetted places for Indigenous students in the Bachelor of Midwifery
                  degree course saw two Indigenous women enroll in 2008 ready for the
                  course to begin in 2009.

 5. To ensure     The Ngunnawal Centre aims to increase the participation rate of
 equitable and    Indigenous students in tertiary studies and increase the participation rate
 appropriate      of Indigenous students in postgraduate studies through proactive
 achievement      programs. To ensure those eligible can enter the foundation program, UC,
 for              in its Equity planning meeting of February, identified the need to provide
 Aboriginal       scholarships for students in enabling programs through the Ngunnawal
 and Torres       Centre and the University Of Canberra College.
 Islander         University of Canberra has signed a MOU with The Smith Family to
 students.        develop a partnership to support its Learning for Life Students in the ACT
                  and greater Canberra Region.
                  UC also has signed a MOU with the Canberra Institute of Technology.

 6.   To          For many years, it has been compulsory for all students completing a
 promote,         Bachelor of Community Education or a Bachelor of Nursing to study
maintain and   Indigenous Australia: Contemporary Issues. With the introduction of
support the    Indigenous Health: Contemporary Issues in 2007, all Nursing students
teaching of    must study this subject. The Ngunnawal Centre works closely with
Aboriginal     Nursing to deliver this program. In 2005, the University introduced a
and Torres     compulsory subject for all Bachelor of Education students - Indigenous
Strait         Education: What Works. To date, some 1100 teacher education students
Islander       have completed this unit.
cultures and   The University's Indigenous Studies Minor was first introduced in 2006
languages to   and constitutes:
Indigenous              Indigenous History and Self Expression
and non-                Indigenous Politics and the State
Indigenous              Indigenous Representation in Australian Society
students.               Indigenous Australia: Contemporary Issues

               The NIHEC was responsible for the curriculum design, teaching and
               learning strategies of the first three units, while the fourth sits with the
               Faculty of Education and has been ongoing for a number of years.

               Indigenous students consistently enroll in these subjects, as do an
               increasing number of overseas exchange students.

               In 2008, Indigenous staff members at UC taught into the Bachelor of
               Nursing, while an staff member at the Centre convened the Indigenous
               Education unit Indigenous Australia: Contemporary Issues.

               In consultation with Education Faculty, a Graduate Certificate in
               Professional Development Education with a focus on Indigenous
               education was developed in 2007 in response to the MCEETYA
               Australian Directions in Indigenous Education 2005-2008. The Graduate
               Certificate is aimed at school leaders and is offered in an intensive mode
               that can be completed in twelve months. Compulsory sessions during
               ACT DET stand down cover leadership and curriculum development.

               NIHEC continues to plan for an Indigenous Studies Major, to be in place
               in 2010.

               The subjects in this Major are:

               Indigenous Australians and the Law
               Indigenous Societies and Heritage
               Indigenous History and Self Expression
               Indigenous Politics and the State
               Indigenous Representation in Australian Society
               Indigenous Australia: Contemporary Issues
3 Ensure          In 2008, there were 62 Indigenous students enrolled, and 9847 all
equitable         students (0.61%)
access of
Indigenous        This is compared with 67 Indigenous students of 9641 students in
students to       2007 (0.64%)..
                  The Ngunnawal Centre worked with the Pro Vice-Chancellor
                  Education to develop the Entry Pathways to Enhance Regional
                  Participation with a focus on Indigenous students. Kaye Price
                  (Director, NIHEC) and Tom Calma (Council Member) were invited
                  onto the Steering Committee for this project.
                           Details of Indigenous-specific and other scholarships
                            offered by your university.
                           Promotion of scholarships to Indigenous students and
                            take-up rates, including reasons for low take-up.
                           The role played by your IEU in seeking to improve
                            Indigenous access to your institution.
4. Achieve the
                 The total number of Indigenous students enrolled in 2008 was 62,
of Indigenous    compared to 67 in 2007.
students in
higher           For the same period, the total number of students was 9847 in 2008,
education, at    and 9641 in 2007.
commensurate     UC’s strategies to address participation rests almost entirely with the
with those of    Indigenous Education Unit.

5 Enable
Indigenous       There were 11 Indigenous completions at Bachelor level and above in
students to      2008, compared to 10 in 2007.
attain the
same             The total number of completions at Bachelor level and above in 2008
graduation       was 2830, compared to 2909 in 2007.
rates from
award courses    Indigenous percentages 0.31% in 2008 and 0.29% in 2007.
in higher
education as     UC’s strategies to address completion rates rests almost entirely with
for other        the Indigenous Education Unit.
6. To provide
                 The number of Indigenous specific subjects on offer at the University
all Australian
students with    has grown from two in 2006, to six in 2008.
understanding    Planning with staff from Nursing and the Ngunnawal Centre took
of and respect   place throughout the latter half of 2008 for a compulsory subject to be
for Indigenous   taught in the Bachelor of Midwifery, a new course in 2009.
and              Discussions also took place between Law and the Ngunnawal Centre
contemporary     towards the content of a new subject to be introduced in 2009.
                 Many units within courses have Indigenous perspectives embedded.
                 For example, some of the Indigenous issues covered in Law units
                  The reception of English law into Australia and the interplay of
                  Indigenous Law and received law (Legal Systems and
                  Constitutional Law).

                  Equality before the law and access to the legal system (Legal

                  The status of Indigenous Law before the Courts (Constitutional

                  Native title both pre and post the Mabo decision (Property Law).

                  The application of aspects of the Criminal Law System to
                  Indigenous People, including punishment and criminal procedure
                  such as arrest and bail (Criminal Law and Procedure).

                  Indigenous witnesses and the law of evidence: cultural assumptions,
                  witness examination and unheard stories. Confessional evidence:
                  Indigenous experiences with the police and the right to silence.
                  (Evidence Law)

                  The existence of Fiduciary duties between the State and Indigenous
                  people in the context of native title and the stolen generation. The
                  role of the Fiduciary relationship in communal ownership situations

                  The application of Intellectual Property laws to Indigenous people
                  stopping the rip-offs, gaps in protection for cultural heritage,
                  protecting the integrity of Indigenous art, resale royaltie s for
Indigenous artists (Intellectual Property Law).

Issues for indigenous women as prisoners, as victims and as
offenders in the court (Gender and the Australian Legal System).

Racial discrimination in the workplace, focussing on Indigenous
people (Employment, Discrimination and the Law).

A high number of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander local
community people are invited each year as guest lecturers and as
motivational speakers for Indigenous students.

The Director of the Centre, as a member of the Indigenous Higher
Education Advisory Council, was very much involved in cultural
competency workshops with Universities Australia and plans are in
train to have all UC staff participate in a similar workshop.

The Director guest lectures into Health, Law, International Film,
Education, and participates on a number of committees with staff
from other divisions.

The Ngunnawal Centre works extensively with other staff members
across the university.
                    Indigenous higher education expenditure 2008

          INCOME for Indigenous higher education purposes
1         ISP 2008 grant only                                                            $311,000

2         Unspent 2007 ISP funds, carried over to 2008 – as reported in your providers   $0
          2008 audited annual financial statements

3         TOTAL ISP income for 2008                                                      $ 311,000

4         Funds provided from UC Central Account                                         $176,301

5         Total Indigenous higher education income for 2008                              $487,301

*Item 3

Eexpenditure 2008

1         Operating costs, including salaries, for Indigenous support services           $444,130

2         Capital items                                                                  $0

3         Equipment                                                                      $0

4         Other: student recruitment travel, printing of information packages            $43,171

5         Total expenditure                                                              $487,301

     Item 4

     Other funding to Indigenous Higher Education ($176,301) above the ISP grant
     includes support for peer tuition in science and a contribution from UC Central
     Account towards the operations of the Ngunnawal Indigenous Higher Education
     Centre (the Indigenous Education Unit).

      In addition, ITAS expenditure for 2008 was $63,583.85

              SECTION 4:          UC's CONTACT INFORMATION
Dr Kaye Price
Ngunnawal Indigenous Higher Education Centre

Tel: 02 6201 5894

Ms Joanne Lee

Tel: 02 6201 5448


The University of Canberra’s Indigenous Education Statement will be published at

To top