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Indigenous school attendance still hovering at 2008 levels

SCHOOL attendance among indigenous students in Queensland schools has plateaued over the past four years despite a nationwide determination to improve the stagnant trend.

In 2012, indigenous student school attendance in Queensland hovered at 84.4% - the same as it was in 2008.

According to State Education Department figures, non-indigenous student attendance is also the same as it was four years ago, at 91.7%.

Some regions in Queensland fare worse than others, including the North Coast area, encompassing the Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg and the Fraser Coast, where the rate of indigenous attendance is 86.5%.

It is one of only two regions in Queensland to worsen over the past four years, with the attendance rate dropping by almost 1% among indigenous students.

In Far North Queensland, the attendance rate has dropped 1% since 2008.

The lack of progress is despite a Federal and State Government initiative, Closing the Gap, to improve participation among indigenous students in schools.

The Queensland Government set a target in 2008 to close the gap between non-indigenous and indigenous attendance rates by 2013.

To achieve the target, indigenous attendance rates would have had to increase to 91.7%.

The Darling Downs South West education region was one of the few areas to inch towards the target.

The region's indigenous attendance rate increase from 84.4% in 2008 to 85.2% in 2012.

Central Queensland's participation rate also increased by 0.1%.

Earlier this month the Queensland Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek held a roundtable meeting with education experts and community members in a bid to improve attendance rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Mr Langbroek said at the time the meeting marked the beginning of what would be a new four-year indigenous education action plan.

The Minister said the government would adopt a new approach.

"Indigenous education strategies have been strongly geared towards improving educational outcomes in primary schools and high schools up until now," he said.

"Our new approach will be wider in scope and look at building a continuous pathway from 'crayon to career' for Indigenous Queenslanders.

"This means ensuring that indigenous Queenslanders are supported and engaged in learning from early childhood, through the schooling years to training, tertiary education and employment."

The action plan is expected to be delivered mid-next year.

REGIONAL INDIGENOUS SCHOOL ATTENDANCE RATES

  • North Coast: 2008 87.6%; 2012 86.5%.
  • Darling Downs South West: 2008 84.4%; 2012 85.2%.
  • Metropolitan: 2008 87.5%; 2012 87.7%.
  • South East: 2008 87.5%; 2012 87.5%.
  • North Queensland: 2008 80.2%; 2012 80.9%.
  • Far North Queensland: 2008 81.7%; 2012 80.7%.
  • Central Queensland: 2008 86.2%; 2012 86.3%.

Topics:  closing the gap, indigenous, school


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