Australia and Canada face many similar challenges in working to improve the educational outcomes and employment opportunities for Indigenous and Aboriginal peoples. Australia has a 40 per cent gap in the attainment of a High School Certificate between Indigenous and non Indigenous students, while one quarter of non-Indigenous Canadians have a university degree compared with seven per cent of Aboriginal Canadians.
Indigenous education reform is currently a priority for both countries. The Government of Canada is in the midst of a major reform of Aboriginal education. The Australian government has prioritised “closing the gap” in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education attainment.
In October 2009, a Canadian delegation visited Australian Education International (AEI) North America in Washington DC to discuss Indigenous education policy reform. The meeting’s key resolution was to enhance collaboration between Australia and Canada by opening lines of communication between federal, provincial/state governments and individual schools.
Australia-Canada Indigenous Education Policy Exchange Visit
In May 2011, AEI coordinated a visit of Canadian Indigenous Education policy representatives to Australia in cooperation with the Canadian Education Ministers Council (CMEC) and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC).
The program’s aim was to develop a long term, in-depth relationship in Indigenous education policy exchange between Canada and Australia, focussing on strategies in a small number of areas of mutual interest such as rural and remote education, numeracy and language learning.