Maintaining connection to family, culture and community: implications for remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pathways into higher education
James Smith, Michael Bullot, Veronica Kerr, Dean Yibarbuk, Millie Olcay and Fiona Shalley
Published in Rural Society
Maintaining connections to family, culture and community is essential for strengthening an Aboriginal child’s educational achievements. The Australian Bureau of Statistics collects self-reported information on a range of factors that can assist in understanding what influences Aboriginal children to complete school. The 2014–2015 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) provides a national snapshot about how various characteristics influence the educational experience of Aboriginal children in remote Australia. In this article, findings from NATSISS have been used to interrogate qualitative data from the Whole of Community Engagement initiative led by Charles Darwin University. This is a multi-site participatory action research project working across six remote communities in the Northern Territory, Australia. We use Indigenous community perspectives to describe why maintaining connection to family, culture and community is important for both Aboriginal high school completions in remote Australia, and the subsequent impact this has on pathways into higher education.