Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Boost in Indigenous school retention rates

School retention rates among Indigenous students have climbed significantly over the past five years, Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough said today.

Mr Brough said the retention rate for full-time students from Year 7/8 to Year 10 increased from 83 per cent to 88 per cent between 2000 and 2005.

The Year 12 retention rate increased from 36.4 per cent to 39.5 per cent over the same period.

Significantly, there were 3427 Indigenous full-time students in Year 12 last year – a 34.8 per cent increase on five years ago.

The figures are contained in the report, Schools Australia, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

In 1996, the Year 12 Indigenous retention rate was 29.2 per cent and 75.8 per cent for Indigenous Year 10 students.

Mr Brough welcomed the rises, saying good education opened the door to future opportunities.

"These increases represent an important step towards improving the situation of Indigenous Australians and show what can be achieved in many communities," Mr Brough said.

"Good education opens the door to employment opportunities and lays the foundations for better choices and opportunities in life.

It found there were 135,097 Indigenous full-time students in 2005, an increase of 3.5 per cent since 2004.

"Although these statistics are very encouraging we still have a long way to go," Mr Brough said.

"Indigenous retention rates are still far lower than for other students."