By Kayla Brereton, Jin Kok
Indigenous students aren’t getting enough support from their universities, a study involving more than 500 indigenous students has found.
The results come even as one-third of respondents say having designated Indigenous university centres helped them with their studies.
Researcher Susan Page said she is concerned that the results of the Australasian Survey of Student Engagement shows many are considering dropping their studies.
“The thing that really does stand out is the departure intention which is really important,” she said.
She said despite most students thinking of leaving in their first year, the most worrying part is 37 per cent of indigenous students will still consider leaving later on.
“As they continue on into their second or their final year, you see considerable numbers thinking about leaving universities,” she said. “This does not mean actually leaving but still continually thinking about leaving,” she said.
The survey suggests indigenous students need more support in handling non-academic issues such as day-to-day worries around campus.
Mrs Page said this has a direct impact on students leaving.
“Those students who were more inclined to say that they were thinking about leaving, that correlated with students saying that they were not feeling they were very supported in their issues in their lives.”
Brisbane Aboriginal Elder Uncle Albert Halt said no matter the reason, the statistic is worrying.
“There’s too many Aboriginal students that are not completing a senior level of education,” he said.
He said the reason students are dropping out has largely due to the lack of historical knowledge and support being provided at universities.
“They need all the encouragement and support they can get, and that the knowledge, that education comes from their elders and their fore-parents,” he said.
QUT Indigenous Program Manager Darren Brady said the knowledge is already available and he is concerned not enough schools around Queensland are doing the same.
“There’s definitely knowledge and support at the university setting,” he said.
“I still believe that you need to start at the high school setting, not probably happening at the moment but it’s getting there.”