In February, the 12th Closing the Gap report revealed that Indigenous students' education targets, especially in the areas of school attendance and literacy and numeracy, are not on track.
According to the findings of the report, the majority of Indigenous students attended school for an average of just over 4 days a week in 2019 (these students largely lived in Major Cities and regional areas).
School attendance rates for Indigenous students have not improved over the past five years. Attendance rates for Indigenous students remain lower than for non‑Indigenous students (around 82% compared to 92% in 2019).
These findings have sparked discussion about how the existing approaches to addressing these issues can be modified, or overhauled, so that these targets can be met.
On Friday, this goal took a step forward when a new partnership agreement was struck between the NSW Education Department and the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group.
The new Partnership Agreement 2020-2030, Walking Together, Working Together, builds on the strong foundation of the previous 2010-2020 Partnership Agreement and works towards the Premier’s Priority of increasing the proportion of Aboriginal students attaining Year 12 by 50% by 2023 whilst maintaining their cultural identity.
NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the key to the agreement is ensuring every Aboriginal child and young person in NSW can achieve their potential.
“The NSW AECG is the peak advisory body to the Department on Aboriginal education. This partnership underpins the work to strengthen education for Aboriginal children and young people,” Mitchell said.
Minister Mitchell said the clarity of the partnership will lead the development of a 10-year plan with interim and annual reporting accountabilities.
“It is essential that the students of NSW know, understand and learn about the land of the people they live and study on and celebrate the richness of Aboriginal cultures across our State”.