Monash University backs new national Indigenous strategy

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Monash University is proud to partner with other universities across Australia to support a landmark national strategy to lift the university enrolment and completion rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Under the plan, universities across Australia will work together as they strive to grow the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled by 50 per cent above the growth rate of non-Indigenous students.

The Universities Australia’s Indigenous Strategy 2017-2020 also sets a target of equal success and completion rates for Indigenous students to non-Indigenous students in the same fields of study over the next decade.

Monash University President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, said Indigenous knowledge in Australia had flourished for thousands of generations before Australia’s first university was established.

“Australia’s first peoples make enormous contributions to learning and research,” she said. “This strategy will complement our existing work here at Monash University to make the most of that vital contribution, lift Indigenous participation and celebrate Indigenous excellence.”

Monash University has achieved strong growth in Indigenous enrolments in recent years. We now have 70 per cent more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university students than in 2008.

“In 2016, our retention rate for Indigenous students was higher than that of any other university in Victoria, and our success rate for Indigenous students was the highest in Australia.”

“Despite recent large strides forward, there is more to be done. And that’s why the university sector has come together to redouble our efforts through this strategy,” Professor Gardner said.

Universities Australia has said achieving the targets would rely on strong partnerships between universities, Indigenous communities and Government – with everyone contributing to the shared goal. Continued funding for the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program will also be crucial.

The strategy was developed in close consultation with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Consortium (NATSIHEC).

The consortium’s Chair, Professor Peter Buckskin – a Narungga man from South Australia – said he saw the strategy as a way to make Indigenous success core business in higher education.

“Aspiration and substance are crucial to this endeavour. We will work together to ensure that the promise of the Indigenous Strategy has tangible outcomes,” he said.

The strategy will be launched at the Universities Australia Higher Education Conference dinner at the Great Hall in Parliament House tonight.

Speakers at the event include Kungarakan Elder and University of Canberra Chancellor Dr Tom Calma,acclaimed film director and Arrernte woman Rachel Perkins, and Gumbaynggirr woman and Melbourne University PhD student, Lilly Brown.