Re-Imagining Indigenous Education for Health, Wellbeing and Sustainable Development in Remote Australia

Rosalie Schultz, Tammy Abbott, Jessica Yamaguchi, Sheree Cairney

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In Australia both Indigenous communities and governments are concerned at the educational outcomes of Indigenous children, especially children in remote regions. However, there are divergent visions of Indigenous education. For Indigenous communities, education embraces culture and contributes to wellbeing, the focus of our research, while for governments, educational goals comprise school attendance, English literacy and completion of year 12. Our team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers explored wellbeing for Indigenous people in remote Australia through focus groups and interviews. Grounded analysis showed how research participants would like more Indigenous education for their children. Their vision for education includes transmission of Indigenous knowledge and skills in art, culture, history, land and sea management, and literacy in both English and Indigenous languages. Remote Indigenous communities hold under-utilised resources and strengths for education, and Indigenous people’s knowledge is needed, particularly in conservation and land and sea management. Research participants feel thwarted by education policies which require competition for funding and segregation of services. Re-imagining education from the perspectives of Indigenous communities offers opportunities to enhance education, together with employment, health and wellbeing, and strengthen Indigenous languages, knowledge and skills. These are important for both overcoming Indigenous disadvantage and for Australia to reach its commitments to conservation and sustainable development goals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2950-2972
Number of pages23
JournalCreative Education
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Indigenous people
  • Education
  • Wellbeing
  • Culture
  • Land management
  • Sustainable development


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