Al and I spent last Friday in Perth at the Australian Council of Deans of Education meeting. The day was a great opportunity to bring together the Australian Indigenous Lecturers in ITE (AILITE) reps from around Australia with the Deans of Schools of Ed from across the country. The theme of the day was
Rural, Regional and Remote Teacher Education Priorities, including a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education
In 2005 Australian Schools of Ed had 30 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff. By 2016 the number had risen to 31. Yep – a disappointing effort. That one new addition in 2016 was probably Al! It was great to have Al representing RMIT at the meeting. While we have 43 Schools of Ed across Australia only 6 AILITE reps were present on Friday – a turnout that was the source of considerable discussion.
At present Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders represent only 0.2% of all eduction staff across the country. For parity we would expect to have 2.7% of staff in this group. At RMIT with about 120 continuing and fixed term staff, we should be aiming for at least three Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff. Attracting and retaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, and growing our own all come with challenges. I am pleased to report that Al and I have been scoping out a three year Indigenous Engagement Plan for the school that addresses these challenges.
I know we have deep connections to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across both our VE and HE areas and I look forward to building on these strengths over the coming months.