Unexpected Contributor to Aboriginal High School Completions

Culture gives an individual a sense of belonging and is primal in the development of a student.

This is revealed in a new study that has found positive impacts of cultural activities on Aboriginal students in some New South Wales schools.

Recent data by the Education Statistics and Education identifies successful ways schools use cultural activities to drive improvements in Aboriginal high school completions.

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the findings showed that connection to culture, language and heritage was a key driver behind Aboriginal students’ successful HSC attainment.

“We are seeing that when Aboriginal students are supported to maintain a strong connection to culture during their schooling years, the more likely they are to complete Year 12,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Cultural recognition was identified as a unique driver behind students’ aspirations. Aboriginal students in Years 7 to 9 who ‘feel good about their culture’ while at school were much more likely to aspire to complete their HSC.”

“It’s important for all schools everywhere to recognise and celebrate the culture, history and customs of all students and communities in order to foster classroom environments where students feel supported to achieve great things.”

The groundbreaking research, which was first attained by ABC in early October, uses data to prove a connection between culture and educational achievement.

The data of almost 40,000 secondary students across the state, including 3,686 Aboriginal students, were analysed for the study.

According to ABC, the study found the 26 per cent gap in Year 12 attainment between Indigenous and non Indigenous students could be closed through increasing cultural activities in schools.

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Don Harwin said that supporting Aboriginal students’ cultural identity at school was integral to their HSC success.

“We know that cultural recognition lifts students’ inclusion and engagement at school and this learning environment assists Aboriginal students to attain their HSC,” Mr Harwin said.

“The real recognition of Aboriginal identity builds relationships and rapport with educators and opens the door for students to learn and thrive in their studies. This will have long term impacts for students and their pathway in the future.”

Sheetal Singh

Sheetal is a freelance journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Read more of her terrific work in School News magazine.

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