Promising Practices in Supporting Success for Indigenous Students

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Indigenous peoples are diverse, within and across nations. However, Indigenous peoples have experienced colonisation processes that have undermined Indigenous young people’s access to their identity, language and culture. At the same time, Indigenous children have not generally had access to the same quality of education that other children in their country have had access to. These two forces in combination have undermined the educational opportunities and outcomes of successive generations of Indigenous children and young people, at times with catastrophic effect.

The six Canadian provinces and territories that participated in this study, along with New Zealand and Queensland (Australia), are actively seeking to better meet the educational needs and aspirations of Indigenous students and their families.

The report seeks to identify promising strategies, policies, programmes and practices that support improved learning outcomes for Indigenous students and to build an empirical evidence base on Indigenous students in education. The study investigates four areas in Indigenous education: well-being, participation, engagement and achievement in education. These outcomes are inter-connected and mutually reinforcing, and each is essential for the success of every student.

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Increasing the participation of Indigenous students in education

Participation in education reflects students’ access to education and their opportunities to learn. Although the overall level of participation is high across the jurisdictions in the study, Indigenous students have lower levels of participation than non-Indigenous students. Limited access to opportunities can have a significant impact on a student's later outcomes. This chapter outlines the importance of participation in education for positive student development, from the early years to the senior years. It also covers progress in monitoring participation across the jurisdictions and identifies patterns of participation according to many factors, including gender, socio-economic status and geographic location. The study has identified a number of promising policies and practices to support Indigenous students' participation in education.

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