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The Australian National University

Mapping Indigenous Educational Participation

Discussion Paper 267 / 2004


Schwab and Sutherland (forthcoming) present a spatial analysis of the distribution of Indigenous education participation across Australia. Amongst their main findings is the marked effect of geographic isolation on participation. We extend this analysis by relating other Indigenous and non-Indigenous outcomes to the educational participation of 15–19 year olds via a regression framework, estimated at the geographic level.

We find that access to schools and other institutions is indeed associated with educational participation. However, other factors are also important; these are variables that act as a proxy for disruption within Indigenous households, access to electronic resources that support educational participation in the home, and the presence of the CDEP scheme.

In the paper we also compare the remoteness category of a student’s usual residence on census night with their remoteness category of five years beforehand. We find that, amongst other things, although Indigenous students who lived in remote or very remote areas five years beforehand are more likely to have moved than the general population (especially university students), a substantial number still remain in these areas. This has important implications for the provision of distance and online learning.

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