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Partnership for improving outcomes in indigenous education: relationship or business?

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Author(s)

Ma Rhea, Zane

Periodical

Journal of Education Policy

Volume

27

Number

1

Date

2012

Pages

p. 45-66

Language

English

Countries

Australia

Notes

Abstract. Table. References.

This paper examines the Australian government's Indigenous policy by interrogating the concept of partnership between governments and Indigenous communities through three examples. Increasingly, the Australian federal government is focusing attention on the poor literacy and numeracy outcomes for Indigenous children in remote and very remote locations. The three examples examined in this paper occurred between 2002 and 2007 during the development of the government's policies about partnership accountability. A case study methodological approach evolved into a policy ethnography which was adopted to investigate the central question examined in this paper about the strengths and limitations of partnering as a policy concept. The strongest theme to arise from analysis was that parents and caregivers, and indeed their broader families and communities, had a distinctly different expectation of partnership to that of the government policy. Drawing on social exchange theories, the differences identified were concerned with the asymmetry and reciprocity. Indigenous communities are asserting the right to negotiated agreements that are accountable 'both ways' and governments seem to be more focussed on a 'one way' process of making Indigenous people accountable for education failure.