The evolution of Indigenous higher education in Northern Territory, Australia: A chronological review of policy

Catherine Street, John Guenther, James A. Smith, Kim Robertson, Shane Motlap, Wendy Ludwig, Kevin Gillan, Tracy Woodroffe, Robyn Ober


Current policies that guide Indigenous higher education in the Northern Territory (NT) of Australia focus on the importance of achieving ‘outcomes’. These policies include the Universities Australia (UA) Indigenous Strategy 2017-2020, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Strategy 2015 and the NT Department of Education’s A Share in the Future Indigenous Education Strategy 2015-2024. Looking back at various Indigenous higher education policies over the past fifty years, however, it appears that achieving ‘outcomes’ was not always the goal. To understand why approaches to Indigenous higher education policy in the NT and at the national level exist as they do today, and to understand what has and has not worked in the context of historical change, it is important to reflect on how policy has evolved. Changing governments, shifting socio-political discourses, and various Indigenous advocates have all had considerable and cumulative effects on Indigenous higher education policy. In this paper, we use a discursive narrative approach to chronologically outline the evolution of Indigenous higher education policy in the NT.


Indigenous; education; higher education; policy; history; Northern Territory

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International Studies in Widening Participation ISSN 2203-8841