Indigeneity as a foundation for patterned Northern Territory remote Aboriginal student achievement within a stratified western education system

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (not CDU)


    Over the past decade, national testing in English and mathematics for primary and junior secondary education reveals NT remote Aboriginal children have consistently performed at a much lower level than all other groups across Australia. This performance outcome is situated within a broader and stratified education system, of which ongoing education reform attempts have failed to address. This entrenched pattern by wealth has NT remote Aboriginal students located at the bottom of this layering, underpinned by an Aboriginal racial identity as a defining characteristic. For NT remote Aboriginal families this layering is bound within a deepened embeddedness of racism, interacting with an economic ordering that has relegated remote families to a life of socially–constructed marginalisation, on their own lands.

    This study applies Critical Race Theory (CRT) as a primary tool of analysis, Aboriginalising its tenets to respond to the unique narrative of NT Aboriginal education. Drawing on research with remote North Australia Aboriginal principals (head teachers), Aboriginal communities and educators, I utilise critical race methodology to explore the intersecting roles of colonial history, ‘race’ and wealth inequality in the construction and deployment of NT remote Aboriginal education inequality. This investigation privileges the voices and Stories of Northern Territory Remote Aboriginal families, strengthened through my lived Aboriginal experience of 25 years employment as a teacher and senior education administrator in Northern Territory urban and remote communities. In this study, the CRT tenet of interest convergence/interest divergence is utilised alongside Indigenous CRT frameworks.

    Underpinning this study, a form of NT remote Aboriginal social capitalism is shown to be at the epicentre of a progressive NT remote Aboriginal education policy architecture, wrapped around Indigeneity and its existential dimensions.

    In this study, the NT context matters to Aboriginal social justice in education, but more broadly those pursuing increased definition of social capitalism and its multi-dimensional expressions within the middle ground, between the excesses of democracy and fascism, socialism and capitalism.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Sydney
    • Harwood, Valerie, Supervisor, External person
    • Daniels-Mayes, Sheelagh, Supervisor, External person
    Award date7 Aug 2020
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2020


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