Universities in Australia are still far from granting equal opportunities to Indigenous students and staff, while indigenous programmes are under threat, according to Celeste Liddle, member and Indigenous Organiser at the Australian National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU). ‘Cuts to funding and the lack of inclusive spaces within universities are hampering the progress in equity for members of the Aboriginal community,’ she said.
In an article published in the British newspaper, The Guardian, earlier this month, Liddle states that teaching and learning conditions have become harder, rather than easier, for Indigenous staff and students in recent years. Scholarships have been discontinued by previous governments and have been replaced with loans that increase students’ debt. Because Indigenous students are more likely to be from lower socio-economic backgrounds, they tend to accumulate larger debts at a higher rate than other students.
On the academic side, indigenous-specific programmes are being reduced or replaced by mainstream programmes. The same applies to support programmes, which are crucial to the integration of indigenous students into academia, raising the overall question by the author as to whether or not Australian universities value their staff and students equally.
Celeste Liddle’s entire article can be accessed here: http://www.nteu.org.au/article/Australian-universities-don%27t-value-their-Indigenous-students-and-staff-16548