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The issues related to success in Indigenous Australian business students' education

Keith Truscott
Kurongkurl Katijin, Edith Cowan University
Craig Standing
School of Management Information Systems, Edith Cowan University
There is a growing realisation that there are low numbers of Indigenous students succeeding in business education. This can be perceived as a problem as this results in Indigenous people not participating in the "real economy" of the nation (Pearson, 2001). Typically, the business professions, such as accounting, law, administration and management, information systems and technology, lead to highly paid careers which underpin the Australian economy. The reasons for the low participation in business education are complex but the emerging issues point towards encouraging partnerships with as many stakeholders as possible.

A major division in perspectives revolves around the issue of self determination as opposed to mainstreaming. In other words, a situation where Indigenous people determine and manage their own future rather than being forced to adopt a pre-existing system into which they have had little input. The ethnocentric attitude of governing bodies and individuals has to be understood in order to appreciate the difficulties experienced by those from other cultures (Finney and Orr, 1995).

Many issues related to the success of Indigenous students in business education are part of the broader set of issues related to higher education in general. Specifically, the reasons behind Indigenous students succeeding in business education courses have been noted (Truscott, 2002) along with several others as follows:

Therefore, defining success in the context of Indigenous students doing business education is likely to require a multi-dimensional view that involves all stakeholders in a close working partnership. The stakeholders in this context could include, the students, teachers, State and Commonwealth Departments of Education, parents, community, and university management. These groups need to work together to define their aims, objectives and outcomes and come to a flexible understanding of the definition of success.
Please cite as: Truscott, K. and Standing, C. (2003). The issues related to success in Indigenous Australian business students' education. In Partners in Learning. Proceedings of the 12th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 11-12 February 2003. Perth: Edith Cowan University. http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/truscott-abs.html

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Last revision: 16 Jan 2003. This URL: http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/truscott-abs.html