Independent Schools Australia (ISA) has welcomed the Minister for Indigenous Australians and Minister for Regional Education’s move to fund $15.7 million for boarding providers to accommodate more than 2,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in remote areas.
In a statement released last week, the federal government said the fund will allow more than 40 boarding schools and stand-alone providers with a high proportion of indigenous students from remote and very remote areas “will be able to deliver new and innovative projects to help students study away from home.”
This measure is part of the 2021-22 Budget cross-portfolio package, “Schools and Youth – supporting students, teachers and young Australians.”
“Boarding schools in remote Australia provide crucial support for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children,” said Margery Evans, chief executive officer of ISA. “These boarding schools not only provide quality education and accommodation, but a range of other support for children who are away from their families and communities.”
There are 15,395 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in the independent sector, 2,106 of which are boarders at 120 schools. Meanwhile, there are 3,034 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in remote areas, 475 of which are boarders.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in remote areas have many disadvantages to overcome. This funding will go some way towards addressing this disadvantage,” Evans said. “We hope to see this commitment renewed and extended to more schools in the upcoming Federal Budget.”
ISA is the representative body for 1,169 independent schools across the country, which educate more than 647,000 students.