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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.
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%).
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 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.
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%).
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.
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:
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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