New research — Higher education aspirations, participation and achievement of Australian Indigenous males
Research published today has found that despite high levels of aspiration to higher education, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men are underrepresented at Australian universities.
Led by James A. Smith from the Menzies School of Health Research, the research team found that motivations to pursue higher education include desire to acquire knowledge and skills to gain employment, invest in community development, and to mentor peers and family members. Participants were motivated to pursue topics they were passionate about and sought to embed Indigenous knowledge and perspectives into theories and practice.
Recommendations to increase participation include:
- acknowledge the underrepresentation of Indigenous males in higher education
- build an evidence base about strategies that better support Indigenous males
- expand targeted scholarship and program supports
- provide free classes, equipment, and resources to remote community centres and libraries
- promote the stories of current Indigenous students, community members and alumni
- expand the number of Indigenous study mentors (particularly male mentors) and programs on campus.
Recommendations for government and funding bodies include:
- identifying Indigenous males as a priority (sub)population in higher education policy and program settings at a national level
- funding higher education institutions to develop and implement targeted programs and services for Indigenous males
- investing more heavily in travel scholarships to support students to return home during semester breaks.
This research was conducted under the NCSEHE Research Grants Program, funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.