During the last month, we have seen the release of the 2018 Closing the Gap Report and the 10 year review of the Closing the Gap Policy, and Australia has marked the 10 year anniversary of the National Apology.

With so much going on in the space of a few weeks, it is natural for us to ask why we are still closing a gap that remains so large.

We need new solutions so perhaps it’s time to ask new questions and engage in the issues in a different way. The issues are complex and inter-connected and none of us can solve these problems alone.

We believe that the  GO Ecosystem is a new approach.  It requires us to work together, to put aside the competition of business and instead to take a collaborative approach to support Indigenous students. Through a combination of financial assistance and the support that comes from our Ecosystem partners, we want to empower our students and give them the tools to effect change.

Last year, we engaged Propel to give us real-time intelligence from social media to reveal how relevant stakeholders discuss Indigenous education issues online.

The Propel Listening Report showed us some interesting things:

  • Conversations about education regularly feature ‘deficit’ language
  • Conversations about education get swallowed up by other conversations on racism and crime and within debate on issues such as the date for Australia Day
  • Positive stories about education do not get as much air time as negative stories
  • The issues that are faced by Indigenous Australia are complex and interconnected, yet we often use a siloed approach to solving those issues

Through the GO Ecosystem, we hope that we can move from a language of deficit to a language of empowerment and share the stories of our amazing scholars.  85% of Indigenous students attend public schools in Australia, yet most of the existing scholarships are for independent schools. This is where the GO Public School Scholarships can play such a vital role. There are so many Indigenous students in public schools who do not have the basic tools to learn – pencils, pens, computers, wi-fi, uniforms, money for excursions and school trips, and learning support, for example – things that can help make their learning a more fulfilling and enjoyable experience.

The Research we commissioned from KPMG Arrilla Indigenous Services shows that there are direct benefits for students who complete further education (any education past year 12 – University, TAFE, vocational training, accelerator type entrepreneur programs – whatever that student is interested in):

  • Improved nutrition and health
  • Lower rates of obesity
  • Lower rates of tobacco use
  • Higher earnings capacity
  • Enhanced employment prospects
  • Higher rates of home ownership
  • Lower rates of suicide.

If we can make the learning more fun; if we can give our students the tools they need and if we can provide them with a support network; perhaps we can encourage more students to complete further education and access some of these benefits.