Improving retention and graduation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in initial teacher education programs
Additional Document Info
In 2012, the Australian Council of Deans of Education (ACDE), through the Queensland University of Technology, led a MATSITI project focusing on issues related to the retention, support and graduation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers in initial Teacher Education programs across Australia. While some of the barriers that impact on the graduation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers are well, known, this was the first large-scale Australian study to look at the issues nationally and in depth. Thirty-four Teacher Education programs across the country were audited, meetings were held in each state, both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Faculty were consulted and approximately 70 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pre-service teachers interviewed. This paper reports on the outcomes of that project, including the evidence that while recruitment into Teacher Education has, in some sites, reached parity, retention rates are well-below expected across the nation. The paper focuses both on the quantitative data and, even more significantly, on the voices of the pre-service teachers themselves, offering insights into the ways forward. As a result of this study, Deans and Heads of School of Teacher Education programs across the country have developed Action Plans alongside their university's Indigenous Higher Education Centres to improve support and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers.