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4714.0 - National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2008 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/10/2009   
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EDUCATION


Educational attainment is associated with improved employment prospects and has implications for economic independence. Aspects of educational attainment highlighted in this publication are:


Brief information on the schooling of Indigenous children, including cultural learning, is also presented.


HIGHEST YEAR OF SCHOOL COMPLETED

In 2008, there were 327,100 Indigenous people aged 15 years and over, of whom one in five (20%) had completed Year 12 or equivalent. The proportion of Indigenous people who had completed Year 12 or equivalent increased from 17% in 2002 to 20% in 2008. There was a corresponding decrease in the proportion of people who had completed Year 9 or below (42% in 2002 compared to 35% in 2008), indicating a higher proportion of young people are continuing with their studies.

5.1 HIGHEST YEAR OF SCHOOL COMPLETED(a) - 2002 and 2008
Graph: Highest year of school completed - 2002 and 2008


In 2008, younger Indigenous people were more likely than older Indigenous people to have completed Year 12, reflecting upwards movement in educational attainment in the Australian population. However, between 2002 and 2008, the proportion of Indigenous people aged 20-24 years (which generally excludes people still at secondary school) who had completed Year 12 or equivalent did not change significantly (28% and 31%).

5.2 COMPLETION OF YEAR 12 OR EQUIVALENT(a)(b), by age groups - 2008
Graph: Completion of Year 12 or equivalent by age groups - 2008


The highest year of school completed includes a proportion of people who were currently studying. In 2008, two in five (41%) Indigenous people aged 15-24 years were currently studying, with 26% at a secondary school and 15% at a non-school institution. Only 1% or 3,600 Indigenous people aged 15 years and over had never attended school. Of Indigenous people who had never attended school, 70% were aged 55 years or older.


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 at university. Non-school qualifications may also be undertaken simultaneously with secondary school studies.

In 2008, almost one-third (32%) of Indigenous people aged 15 years and over had a non-school qualification. Between 2002 and 2008 the proportion of Indigenous people who had a non-school qualification increased from 26% to 32%.

Focussing on Indigenous persons aged 25-64 years allows for a comparison that mostly excludes people who were currently studying. Of Indigenous people aged 25-64 years, 32% had a non-school qualification in 2002 compared to 40% in 2008.

5.3 INDIGENOUS PEOPLE WITH A NON-SCHOOL QUALIFICATION(a) - 2002 and 2008
Graph: Indigenous people with a non-school qualification - 2002 and 2008


In 2008, of Indigenous people aged 15 years and over who lived in major cities, 42% had a non-school qualification, compared to 31% of people living in regional areas and 21% of people living in remote areas.


COMPARISON TO NON-INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

The following tables provide comparisons between Indigenous people from the 2008 NATSISS and non-Indigenous people from the 2008 Survey of Education and Work (SEW). The underlying concepts used to collect data on educational attainment in the 2008 SEW are similar to the 2008 NATSISS, but there are differences between the two surveys that should be considered when making comparisons. See Appendix 1 for more information.

Highest year of school completed

In 2008, just over two in ten (21%) Indigenous people aged 15-64 years had completed Year 12, in comparison to more than five in ten (54%) non-Indigenous people. Of Indigenous people aged 20-24 years (which generally excludes people still at secondary school), 31% had completed Year 12 or equivalent, which is less than half the completion rate of non-Indigenous people (76%).

5.4 INDIGENOUS AND NON-INDIGENOUS PERSONS, by highest year of school completed

Indigenous persons(a)
Non-Indigenous persons(b)
15-19
20-24
25-64
Total
15-19
20-24
25-64
Total
Highest year of school completed(c)
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%

Year 12 or equivalent
14.1
31.3
21.0
21.2
31.2
76.2
53.7
53.8
Year 10 or 11
49.1
47.6
44.4
45.8
47.9
20.5
35.9
35.5
Year 9 or below(d)
36.7
21.1
34.6
33.1
20.9
3.4
10.4
10.7
Total
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
Total persons aged 15-64 years ('000)
59.3
44.5
207.3
311.1
1 362.9
1 435.3
10 828.9
13 627.1

(a) Data from the 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey.
(b) Data from the 2008 Survey of Education and Work.
(c) Includes people who were currently studying at secondary school or non-school institutions.
(d) Includes people who never attended school.
Note: The 2008 NATSISS population in this table varies to that shown in the sumamry tables. Therefore, these estimates will differ from other estimates presented.


Non-school qualifications

Of Indigenous people aged 15-64 years, 33% had a non-school qualification in 2008 compared to 54% of non-Indigenous people in the same age group. Of Indigenous people aged 25-64 years (which mostly includes people who have completed their studies), 40% had a non-school qualification, compared to 61% of non-Indigenous people in the same age group.

5.5 INDIGENOUS AND NON-INDIGENOUS PERSONS, by non-school qualification

Indigenous persons(a)
Non-Indigenous persons(b)
15-19
20-24
25-64
Total
15-19
20-24
25-64
Total
Whether has a non-school qualification(c)
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%

Has a non-school qualification(d)
10.3
29.5
40.2
32.9
7.3
46.4
61.3
54.3
No non-school qualification
89.7
70.5
59.8
67.1
92.7
53.6
38.7
45.7
Total
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
Total persons aged 15-64 years ('000)
59.3
44.5
207.3
311.1
1 362.9
1 435.3
10 828.9
13 627.1

(a) Data from the 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey.
(b) Data from the 2008 Survey of Education and Work.
(c) Non-school qualification refers to educational attainments other than those of pre-primary, primary or secondary education. See the Glossary.
(d) Includes level not determined.
Note: The 2008 NATSISS population in this table varies to that shown in the summary tables. Therefore, these estimates will differ from other estimates presented.



SCHOOLING OF CHILDREN AGED 4-14 YEARS

Of the 139,400 Indigenous children aged 4-14 years, almost all (95%) usually attended school. This information was reported by the child's proxy and reflects their perception of usual attendance. Of the 6,900 children who didn't usually attend school, key reasons for non-attendance included:
  • the child was not ready or not eligible for school; or
  • the cost was too high or unaffordable.


Indigenous culture at school

Of Indigenous children aged 4-14 years, almost two-thirds (62%) were taught about Indigenous culture at school. Types of learning activities included: 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.

Across Australia, there were some differences in the proportion of children being taught Indigenous culture at school. Almost three-quarters (74%) of Indigenous children in South Australia had this type of learning experience, compared to just over half (52%) of Indigenous children in Victoria.


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