Practical reconciliation and continuing disadvantage in Indigenous education

B.H. Hunter, Australian National University
R.G. Schwab, Australian National University


The Howard Government has made ‘practical reconciliation’ a cornerstone of its Indigenous affairs policy. If practical reconciliation is a reality, then we should find some evidence of a convergence in the economic and educational status of Indigenous and other Australians, especially in the last inter-censal period. The main finding of our research, however, is that while there have been some absolute improvements in Indigenous educational attainment over the period 1986 to 2001, gains are less evident when measured relative to non-Indigenous attainment. By any measure, Indigenous Australians remain severely disadvantaged, and poor educational attainment is the key barrier to sustainable improvements in their socioeconomic status.

Boyd Hunter and Jerry Schwab are Fellows at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, the Australian National University. Jerry is also the Deputy Director of the Centre.

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