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Aboriginal student engagement and success in Kimberley tertiary education

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 March 2021

John Guenther*
Affiliation:
Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, Darwin, Northern Territory0810, Australia
Anna Dwyer
Affiliation:
Nulungu Research Institute, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Broome Campus, PO Box 2287, Broome, Western Australia6725, Australia
Sandra Wooltorton
Affiliation:
Nulungu Research Institute, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Broome Campus, PO Box 2287, Broome, Western Australia6725, Australia
Judith Wilks
Affiliation:
Faculty of Education, Southern Cross University, Lismore, New South Wales2480, Australia
*
Author for correspondence: John Guenther, E-mail: john.guenther@batchelor.edu.au
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Abstract

Over recent years, considerable effort has been put into increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (First Nations) participation in higher education. While there are signs that enrolments are increasing, the sustained engagement and successful completion of higher education remains challenging, particularly in remote locations. With this in mind, a collaborative research project among researchers from three northern Australian tertiary education institutions was designed to understand student perspectives, particularly from remote contexts, about their engagement and success towards completion in higher education. Based on a qualitative research design situating Indigenist/interpretive research within a critical realism metatheory, we present findings from the study, based in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, and unpack implications for higher education provision in remote contexts. The findings point to the unique challenges faced by students who live in the Kimberley—and perhaps in other remote locations around Australia. In order to meet these needs, we suggest that tertiary education providers must tailor provision to ensure that engagement with Aboriginal students is relational and culturally safe.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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