The Challenge


Education forms a foundation for hope and opportunity that can help overcome social inequalities

Key Facts


of Indigenous Australians had completed a non-school qualification compared with 49% of non-Indigenous Australians.
(2011 Census)


Is the average school attendance for Indigenous students in very remote schools.


Although Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people comprise 3% of the population, the younger demographic of the Indigenous population means they comprise 7% of school enrolments.

A recent study found that if Indigenous and non-Indigenous students reach the same level of academic achievement by the time they are 15, there is no significant difference in subsequent educational outcomes such as completing Year 12 and participating in university or vocational training. In contrast, those with low educational attainment tend to have poorer health outcomes, lower incomes and reduced employment prospects.

NASCA as an organisation knows that good education is vital in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and that it is one of the greatest means of creating parity and positive social outcomes for all Australians.

In addition to the benefits of receiving a good education, it is also a fundamental human right and essential for the exercise of all other human rights. It promotes individual freedom and empowerment and yields important developmental benefits.

In many of the educational institutions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people attend, their identity, diverse histories and cultures may not be acknowledged and this has proven to have effects on the outcomes of their tenure at school.  Our aim is also to contribute to an environment whereby the Indigenous people we work with have a means of choosing whatever post-school pathways they most identify with.

The following issues underlie why we do our work;

  • Low School Attendance,
  • Low School Completion and/or Poor School Performance,
  • Low transition to post-school pathways,
  • School holidays as a risk-period and;
  • High rates of youth incarceration or contact with the legal system.

NASCA’s Response

We are part of a movement that counteracts these issues by facilitating access to culturally appropriate, community-driven initiatives because it is shown they are key in the educational outcomes of Indigenous young people.  NASCA is aware of the cultural obligations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and believe these can be harnessed as a strength rather than a hindrance in their educational development. We are also aware of many of the barriers to a good education that are generally not catered for within the mainstream education system and are therefore not addressed.


NASCA is acutely aware that effective Aboriginal education outcomes require connection to communities and engaged parents and guardians.

NASCA’s model engages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mentors or mentors with a deep understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues as a crucial key in the development of the educational confidence of young Indigenous people.


By adding cultural elements and encouraging community input in the school day we are directly addressing a gap that is evident in the mainstream education system.

Our educational strategies also directly counteract issues outside of the school gate related to but not limited to:

  • Preventing future incarceration,
  • Using the strengths of the communities to drive social change,
  • Opening doors to meaningful employment or further education,
  • Encouraging healthy lifestyle choices within the context of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community,
  • Creating environments that encourage a healthy wellbeing and cultural esteem.