University leaders must be accountable for Indigenous student attrition

Just 47 per cent of Indigenous students complete their degrees in a decade, making the case for universities and government to establish an Indigenous-led evaluation and performance strategy, according to a new report by James Smith and colleagues (all Charles Darwin U) for the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education. With Indigenous student completions close to 30 per cent below the national figure, “universities can do much more”.

And they want university managers held to account; “performance measures relating to the adoption whole-of-university approaches to Indigenous higher education should be embedded into all senior university executive contracts and reviewed regularly … with clear consequences for poor performance.”

Among 16 other recommendations they call on government to;

“recognise the sovereign rights of Indigenous peoples … by ensuring there are dedicated and appropriately resourced Indigenous education policy and program units in government departments, separate to those associated with equity funding.”

The report also proposes, “stories and narratives are explicitly incorporated into reporting and evaluation processes examining the impact and outcome of Indigenous higher education. They provide a legitimate, culturally relevant and contextual source of evidence.”


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