Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

For: 

The Report of the Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People (the Review), published in September 2012 and chaired by Professor Larissa Behrendt, highlighted the role that higher education plays in improving health, education and economic outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Review examined the role of higher education in closing the gap and reducing Indigenous disadvantage, and recommends a collaborative approach by Government, universities and professional bodies to increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, staff and researchers.

Key findings

The Review found that participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in higher education was significantly below parity with the population as a whole. The Review proposed a future where it would be unremarkable for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person to aspire to university. It presented a vision where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander world views and perspectives are valued and contribute to Australia's knowledge base.

The Review acknowledged that government can only effect change with the cooperation of universities, professional bodies and communities. It also:

  • focused on existing approaches having an impact on participation and completion by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
  • focused on the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff in universities, particularly in academic and research roles

Review Panel and supporting documents

The Review was undertaken by an expert panel, chaired by Professor Larissa Behrendt. The panel’s remit was to examine how higher education outcomes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people contribute to nation building and the reduction of Indigenous disadvantage. The panel released a context paper on 19 September 2011 and issued a call for submissions. It also commissioned fifteen pieces of original research to inform its deliberations.