4714.0 - National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2014-15  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/04/2016   
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EDUCATION


Schooling of children aged 4–14 years

In 2014–15, most (96%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–14 years usually attended school. This information was reported by the child's proxy and reflects their perception of usual attendance.

Almost two-thirds (63%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–14 years were being taught about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture at school, through learning activities including: field trips, excursions, guest speakers or any part of the school curriculum relating to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander history, lifestyle, language, music, rituals, stories, weapons, clothing or food. (Table 7).

Informal learning activities

Undertaking informal learning activities with a child may enhance their learning experiences at school by building confidence in areas such as reading and writing, ensuring homework is completed, and encouraging the child to participate in educational activities. Informal learning also increases social contact and participation, and often involves positive adult–child interactions. In 2014–15, the majority (97%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–14 years spent time doing informal learning activities with their main carer in the week prior to interview. The proportion of children whose main carer helped them with their homework or other educational activities was 58%, up from 51% in 2008. There were also increases in the proportion of children who had assistance with drawing, writing and other creative activities (from 47% to 53%), and the proportion who did musical activities (from 58% to 64%), or played games or sport (from 57% to 63%) with their main carer. While the proportion of children who did reading activities with their main carer increased from 67% in 2008 to 70% in 2014–15, this difference was not statistically significant (Table 7).

Educational participation

In 2014–15, just over one in five (21%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were enrolled in formal study, including 15% who were studying full-time. Females were more likely than males to be studying (23% compared with 19%), and people in non-remote areas were twice as likely as those in remote areas to be studying (24% compared with 12%) (Table 11).

Younger Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were more likely than older people to be studying. Almost half (45%) of those aged 15–24 years were enrolled in formal study in 2014–15, and almost one in five (18%) of those aged 25–34 years were studying. Approximately one in 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 35–44 years (11%) and 45–54 years (10%) were studying in 2014–15, while only 2% of those aged 55 years and over were studying (Table 11).

After adjusting for differences in the age structure of the two populations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were significantly less likely than non-Indigenous people to be studying (rate ratio of 0.8) (Table 1).

Educational attainment

Highest year of school completed

In 2014–15, around one-quarter (26%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over had completed Year 12 or equivalent. Seven in 10 (71%) people had completed Year 10 or above, while 29% had completed Year 9 or below. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in non-remote areas were more likely than those in remote areas to have completed Year 12 or equivalent (28% compared with 18%) (Table 11).

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over who had completed Year 12 or equivalent increased from 17% in 2002 to 20% in 2008. This upward trend continued between 2008 and 2014–15, with the proportion increasing to 26%. While there have been increases in the proportion of people completing Year 12 in both non-remote and remote areas between 2002 and 2014–15, the improvements have been greater in non-remote areas (up 9 percentage points) than in remote areas (up 6 percentage points) (Figure 5.1 and Table 1).

Figure 5.1. Completed Year 12 or equivalent(a), by remoteness — 2002 to 2014–15
Graph Image for Figure 5.1. Completed Year 12 or equivalent(a), by remoteness

Footnote(s): (a) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over. (b) The difference between 2008 and 2014–15 data is not statistically significant.

Source(s): 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2014–15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey



Younger people were more likely than older people to have completed Year 12 (32% of those aged 15–44 years compared with 12% of those aged 45 years and over) (Table 11).

In 2014–15, higher proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian Capital Territory (54%) and Queensland (35%) had completed Year 12 or equivalent, compared with the other states and territories. The Northern Territory (14%) had the lowest proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over who had completed Year 12 (Table 2).

After adjusting for differences in the age structure of the two populations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were less than half as likely as non-Indigenous people to have completed Year 12 or equivalent (rate ratio of 0.4) (Table 1).

Non-school qualifications

Non-school qualifications are awarded for educational attainments other than those of pre-primary, primary or secondary education. Qualifications include those obtained through vocational education and training and/or tertiary studies. Non-school qualifications may also be undertaken simultaneously with secondary school studies.

In 2014–15, almost half (47%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over had a non-school qualification. In non-remote areas, 50% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had a non-school qualification, compared with one-third (34%) of those in remote areas (Table 11).

The proportion of people in the Australian population with a non-school qualification has generally been increasing over time, and this trend is reflected in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. In 2002, just over one-quarter (26%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over had a non-school qualification, increasing to 32% in 2008, and to 47% in 2014–15. While the proportions of people with a non-school qualification have increased in both non-remote and remote areas between 2002 and 2014–15, the increases have been greater in non-remote areas (21 percentage points) than in remote areas (17 percentage points) (Figure 5.2 and Table 1).

Figure 5.2. Has a non-school qualification(a), by remoteness — 2002 to 2014–15
Graph Image for Figure 5.2. Has a non-school qualification(a), by remoteness

Footnote(s): (a) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over.

Source(s): 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2014–15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey



The increase in attainment of a non-school qualification is largely due to an increase in the proportion of people who have completed a Certificate level qualification. The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over who had completed a Certificate III or Certificate IV increased from 13% in 2008 to 23% in 2014–15, as did the proportion of those who had completed a Certificate I or Certificate II (from 6% to 11%). In remote areas, the proportion of people who had completed a Certificate level qualification almost doubled between 2008 and 2014–15, increasing from 14% to 27%, while the proportion in non-remote areas increased by a similar margin, from 23% to 36% over the same period (Table 5.1).


Table 5.1. Level of highest non-school qualification(a), by remoteness — 2008 and 2014–15


2008
2014—15

Non-remote
(%)
Remote
(%)
Australia
(%)
Non-remote
(%)
Remote
(%)
Australia
(%)

Has a non-school qualification (b)
35.9
21.3
32.3
50.0
33.9
46.5
Bachelor Degree or above
5.3
2.5
4.6
5.8
*1.7
4.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma
4.5
2.3
3.9
5.8
2.9
5.1
Certificate III/IV
15.0
7.1
13.0
24.7
14.5
22.5
Certificate I/II
6.6
5.0
6.2
10.7
10.2
10.7
Total Certificate (c)
23.1
14.2
20.9
36.5
27.1
34.4
No non-school qualification
64.1
78.7
67.7
50.1
66.1
53.5

Total persons 15 years and over
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

*Proportion has a relative standard error between 25% and 50% and should be used with caution.

(a) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over.
(b) Includes level not determined.
(c) Includes Certificate level not further defined.
Source(s): 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2014–15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey.


In 2014–15, more than half (55%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 25–54 years had a non-school qualification, compared with 40% of those aged 55 years and over. The relatively low proportion (36%) of people aged 15–24 years with a non-school qualification reflects the high proportion of people in that age group who were still enrolled in study and were therefore yet to complete their qualifications (Table 11).

After adjusting for differences in the age structure of the two populations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were significantly less likely than non-Indigenous people to have a non-school qualification (rate ratio of 0.8) (Table 1).