Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in business education: Barriers and strategies

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in business education: Barriers and strategies Conference Proceedings

AARE 2016: Transforming Education Research

  • Author(s): Dang, Thi Kim Anh, Vitartas, Peter, Ambrose, Kurt, Millar, Hayley
  • Published: 2016

Abstract: In the current Australian higher education context, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students continue to be significantly under-represented (Behrendt, Larkin, Griew & Kelly, 2012; Pechenkina, 2015). They are particularly and seriously under-represented in business education compared to other disciplines, and compared to non-Indigenous students. Little research has been undertaken on encouraging the study of business subjects to improve the uptake of higher education in business courses and consequential careers in business (Dang, Vitartas, Ambrose & Millar, 2016). An understanding of why the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people do not choose to study business at tertiary level is fundamental to improving the status quo.Against this backdrop, this paper presents the findings from a systematic review of the literature to identify key barriers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation and engagement in business education. The review reveals that the barriers range from financial issues, lack of university readiness to issues involving living in remote communities. Deep seated barriers to participation and engagement at university are related to cultural issues in the hidden curriculum dominated by Western practices and knowledge systems, a lack of cultural safety in higher education institutions and complex issues involving educational pathways. With regard to business education, a discipline with seriously low participation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, further barriers specific to business as a profession and business as an academic discipline increase the burden. Identifying these barriers helped to create a framework of interrelated elements shaping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation and engagement in business education. These interrelated elements include geographic and demographic factors, financial and economic factors, curricular and pedagogical factors, sociocultural factors, and socio-political historical factors. The framework graphically depicts areas required for policy consideration and to guide further research in the area.The paper then discusses the major current strategies of Australian educational institutions to increase participation and engagement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Drawing on the review of the barriers and current strategies, the paper concludes with recommendations for higher education institutional policy to further improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation and engagement in business studies.

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Dang, Thi Kim Anh, Vitartas, Peter, Ambrose, Kurt, Millar, Hayley, 2016, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in business education: Barriers and strategies, Conference Proceedings, viewed 30 November 2021, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=10733.

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