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PARTICIPATION AND RETENTION
EDUCATION PARTICIPATION AND RETENTION
In 2010, about 60% of both men and women aged 15-24 years were participating in education. The education participation rate for women was higher than for men in each of the older ten year age groups up to 64 years.The apparent retention rate through secondary school to Year 12 for full-time students was higher for females (83%) than for males (73%).
Participation in education is frequently used as an indicator of the wellbeing of young people. Many young people continue in full-time education immediately after completing compulsory schooling. Participation in education is measured in two different ways: by the proportion of selected age groups who are students; and also by the apparent retention rate of students from Year 7/8 to either Year 10 or Year 12.
Education and training help people to develop knowledge and skills that may be used to enhance their own wellbeing and that of the broader community. For an individual, education is widely regarded as a key factor in developing a rewarding career. For the nation, having a skilled work force is vital in supporting ongoing economic development and in improving living conditions. Changes in social attitudes towards the roles and responsibilities of males and females in the latter part of the last century have led to a increases in the educational participation of females across all age groups. (Endnote 1)
EDUCATION PARTICIPATION RATE, 15-24 YEARS
Most (about three quarters) of the students who are participating in education beyond compulsory schooling are aged 15-24 years. The 60% or so participation rate for both males and females in this age group in 2010 was up from 56% in 2001.
In 2010, the participation rate for both males and females in the 15-19 year age group (around 80%) was double that for the 20-24 year age group (40%). However, while the participation rate for the 20-24 year age group was lower than for the 15-19 year age group, between 2001 and 2010 participation in education by the older age group rose more strongly.
ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLES
A key element in 'closing the gap' between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and non-Indigenous Australians relates to educational participation and attainment. While the education gap has narrowed somewhat over recent years, educational participation and attainment rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians still remain well below those of non-Indigenous Australians. This is due to a range of factors including economic disadvantage, social marginalisation, health problems, differences in community expectations and geographical isolation. (Endnote 1)
Education participation rate
In 2008, the participation rate in formal learning for both male and female Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians aged 15-24 years was 41%. The participation rate was much higher for the 15-19 year age group (around 60%) compared to the 20-24 year age group (around 16%).
Apparent retention rate
The apparent retention rate from Year 7/8 to Year 12 for full-time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students has improved since 2001. For male students it rose from 33% in 2001 to 44% in 2010, and for female students it increased from 39% to 50%. While these improvements in retention rates are much greater than those achieved for the total population over this period, in 2010 the apparent retention rate from Year 7/8 to Year 12 for full-time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students was still only about 60% of that achieved for the total population.
1. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2010, Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010 (cat. no. 1370.0) <www.abs.gov.au>.
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