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Education: African Australians - Compendium (2010)

2010 - African Australians: human rights and social inclusion issues project

A compendium detailing the outcomes of the community and stakeholder consultations and interviews and public submissions

6 Education

6.1 Overview

Education is a key determinant in predicting health and well-being, longevity, employment, housing and economic stability. This section documents the
issues emerging from the consultations and public submissions in relation to education.

While issues related to education were canvassed at all of the consultation workshops and forums conducted, a small number of additional focus groups
were conducted with:

  • teacher Aides in Victoria (these aides assist students in class or on a one-to-one basis, and act as a link between the school and parents)
  • Students at both secondary and tertiary institutions (ACT/Vic/SA)
  • Foundation House Staff specifically working with schools around education and refugee young people. Programs include:

Individual interviews were also conducted with the following:

  • staff/volunteers at the Homework Club on the Flemington Public Housing Estate
  • staff at CMY involved in supporting/developing homework support programs.

6.2 Access to education

(a) How do African Australians find out about education services available to them?
(i) Community

Community respondents identified the following ways in which African Australians find out about the range of education services available to them:

  • on arrival programs such as IHSS for refugee and humanitarian entrants
  • family and social networks
  • multicultural teacher aides
  • Migrant Resource Centres and other settlement support providers
  • homework support groups
  • professional networks/support groups
  • Adult Multicultural Education Services (AMEP providers)
  • overseas skilled migration officers - career and vocational guidance
  • neighbourhood houses and learning centres
  • ethno specific media
  • Centrelink
  • Departments of Education and Training.

Newly-arrived migrants require assistance in accessing information and resources on various areas of education, be it further research in their own
field of specialty; higher education; skills recognition; labour market regulations; training needs and opportunities; skills development and other
related areas.

Responses varied for those who were newly-arrived refugee and humanitarian entrants from those who had migrated to Australia under the skilled
migration program and were either newly arrived or had been residing in Australia for a number of years.

For those who were newly-arrived refugee or humanitarian entrants, the most common source identified was service providers offering IHSS services, such
as settlement support and information provision. IHSS programs provide important initial information and support to meet the diverse settlement needs
of newly-arrived refugee and humanitarian entrants.

IHSS focuses on equipping entrants to gain access to mainstream services such as schools and adult education options. Assistance provided through the
IHSS program in relation to accessing schools was primarily seen as positive by most respondents.

"The worker came with us on the bus to the schools to meet with the teacher. For our little ones, they even helped us know what a kindergarten meant,
and showed us what it is. We didn't know."

(Participant, Community Consultations, WA)

Family and social networks, where they are available, were identified as important sources of information, particularly in relation to availability and
quality of education options:

"We were new in the country and we needed to know how to go about getting our children into the local schools. The local support group helped us a lot.
It's hard without help from people who know what it's like to be in a strange environment where nothing makes sense. We didn't even understand the
issue about enrolment and how old your child has to be and rules about which schools you can get your children to go to."

(Participant, community consultations, Qld)

Professional networks were identified by those arriving as skilled migrants as important sources of information. One example cited included:

The African Australian Union (AAU)
A group of Africans Australians, who have been through the challenges of resettling in Australia, decided to found an organisation called the African
Australian Union to provide newly-arrived migrants with the tools they needed to settle into the Australian way of life. Helping fellow Africans grasp
the education system is one of the AAU's top priorities.

A small number of respondents also stated that they learned about the various education options available through Centrelink:

"The people at Centrelink told me that I could go onto the Youth Pathways program. I went and spoke to them, they are career counselors and they gave
me some advice about what education I could do."

(Participant, Youth Focus Group)

Youth Pathways has been set up to help young people who are at risk of leaving school, to make it through school to the end of year 12 (or its
equivalent), and beyond that to further education, training or employment, and an active community life.

(ii) Stakeholders

Responses from stakeholders were similar to those provided by community respondents. Additional sources identified, however, included:

  • Settlement Grants Program (SGP) services
  • Newly Arrived Youth Support Service
  • Local Learning and Employment Network
  • Refugee Brokerage Program (Vic)
  • Youth Settlement workers
  • Career Information Centres
  • Australian Education International
  • Local Community Partnerships (LCPs)
  • The Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program
  • Youth Transition Support Initiative (Vic)
  • Employment transition support programs
  • Local government councils.
(iii) Public submissions

Issues relating to access to education were addressed by close to half (45%) of the submissions.

A small number of submissions identified ways in which African Australians are currently finding out about education services available to them. They

  • information through sponsor (social worker)
  • IHSS
  • Church
  • NGOs
  • family and friends.
(b) What barriers do African Australians face in accessing education opportunities?
(i) Community

The range of education opportunities that exist for all Australians is undoubtedly vast, and varies from state to state. There are also considerable
variations across states and territories in terms of specialist education programs that are offered to newly-arrived migrants and refugee and
humanitarian entrants. As such, the range of barriers identified varied depending on the availability and nature of the programs or levels of support

However, a number of common barriers were identified:

  • stereotyped views about the capacity of African Australians to learn, particularly those newly arrived
  • impact of racism and discrimination on decisions relating to continuing education
  • inadequate communication between parents and schools - impacting on the level of support provided by parents and schools
  • specific cultural and linguistic barriers for women, particularly women with children
  • high transport costs limiting access to 'ideal' education options
  • inadequate number of hours provided under the AMES program to acquire levels of fluency required for higher education
  • lack of awareness of options available upon exiting AMEP programs such as the Home Tutor Scheme or Distance Learning
  • interpersonal barriers such as uncertainty about the future, pre arrival experiences of loss and trauma
  • lack of cultural appropriateness of learning methods resulting in students ceasing their studies
  • overseas degrees not being recognised in Australia requiring attendance at additional courses to gain recognised qualifications.

The most commonly cited barrier to both generalist and specialist education opportunities and programs was the negative stereotypes that some teachers
and other educationalists had about the capacity of African Australians to learn. Community respondents, particularly young people, reported being
adversely affected by teachers who reinforced problematic and limiting views about the capabilities of African Australian students to attain academic

"Just because I came from a war torn country as a refugee does not mean I cannot learn. Sometimes all that talk about trauma makes me angry because it
is working against us. I was asked when I tried to get into a course, whether I would be better to get counseling first. Then maybe I could reapply. I
don't need counseling. I have a degree from overseas. What I want is to get an education so that my skills will be properly recognized."

(Participant, community consultations, ACT)

Stereotyped views of women's capacities to learn were also repeatedly raised as a barrier for women, particularly young women:

"You can be locked in as a young woman. On the one hand the wider society looks at you and thinks you don't have the intelligence to learn, and then
within your own family and community there might be cultural issues and values that mean it's hard for you as a girl or woman to study."

(Participant, Community Consultations, Tas)

Numerous respondents also raised the issues of perceived racism and discrimination and its impact on people's decisions to access or pursue education
pathways and opportunities:

"My son told me that his teacher said not to bother studying because people like him find it too hard to learn because their families big, and that he
will just be made to go and get a job to support us all. I was a teacher in Eritrea, and I know the value of an education. This kind of view is really
stopping so many of our young from really fulfilling their dreams."

(Participant, Community consultations, Qld)

Several respondents expressed the belief that their limited English language fluency had hindered their children's access to further education. This
highlights the importance of ensuring adequate English language support for parents as a way of also ensuring better involvement in their children's
education experiences.

"I know that if I could speak more English this would help my children. I see them read books but don't know what they say. This is hard. If it was in
Tigrinya then I would know better and be help to my children at school."

(Participant, community focus group, Vic)

English language proficiency is undoubtedly an important prerequisite to accessing and successfully completing various educational programs. The view
expressed by many respondents, however, was that 510 hours of English language classes was not enough to ensure transition to various educational
options, and this often meant that people were deterred from pursuing advanced education.

The lack of sufficient AMEP hours to enable newly-arrived African Australians to acquire adequate English language skills was identified as an area
requiring urgent attention. Participants also repeatedly stressed the need to significantly expand the number of hours that clients have access to
under the English Language Programs.

Community participants frequently stated that approaches and resources currently being used by some teachers and other education professionals are at
times irrelevant and culturally inappropriate to many newly-arrived African Australians. This, it was suggested may result in or further exacerbate
disengagement or underachievement:

"Schools and education institutions trying but some are not very culturally relevant in the way that they teach, and as a result some of the students
in our communities are not getting the result they need to be able to go on to further studies. Worse still the young people get frustrated or think
that they are not intelligent, and end up leaving school early."

(Participant, community consultations, Qld)

Repeated references were made by community respondents of the "highly oral language cultures" of African Australians and the impact that this has on
their learning needs. On arrival in Australia, many are unfamiliar with ways of operating in a culture that places a high premium on the written word.

Several community respondents involved in tertiary studies also raised issues related to the perceived lack of support programs at tertiary
institutions to assist the successful transition of students from refugee backgrounds into tertiary study. The lack of support impacts on rates of
retention and levels of satisfaction with studies.

(ii) Stakeholders

Stakeholder respondents identified the following barriers to education opportunities for African Australians:

  • inadequate length of time provided for students receiving support through the IEC or ESL programs
  • impact of trauma and disrupted education
  • lack of understanding of how western education and employment systems function
  • the practice of placing children and young people in classes according to age
  • limited funding to mainstream schools to cater for specific learning needs of African Australians
  • recently arrived young people in senior secondary school experience considerable difficulty in relation to careers and transitions, completing
    forms, applications and finding work experience or structured workplace learning (SWL) placements
  • lack of awareness of programs to assist English language learning, including special preparatory programs.

The issue of inadequate length of time provided for students receiving support through the IEC or ESL programs was the most frequently cited barrier by
stakeholders in every state and territory.

"IEC centres are regularly full and unable to take on more students, with alternate arrangements having to be made. Four terms in an IEC is simply not
enough to bring some refugee students to the point where they are ready to succeed in a mainstream classroom"

(Stakeholder, NSW)

Stakeholders also identified there needs to be greater support provided for refugee young people transitioning from IECs to mainstream schools:

"This can result in their needs not being adequately addressed and/or their English proficiency not at a sufficient level to move on to further
education and training opportunities - and in some cases means dropping out of education all together."

(Stakeholder, NSW)

The impact of trauma was identified as another key barrier to accessing education by many service provider stakeholders, with most suggesting that lack
of early intervention contributes to the risk that the young person will drop out of school or not pursue educational opportunities:

"Young people have experienced dislocation, loss, interrupted schooling and traumatic separation from families. This inevitably affects their ability
to learn."

(Stakeholder, NSW)

(iii) Public submissions

The submissions highlighted a number of barriers preventing African Australians from accessing appropriate education opportunities, and offered a
number of recommendations for improving access to education.

The main barriers to accessing education presented in the submissions included:

  • failure of the Australian education system to recognise prior learning or qualifications
  • language difficulties
  • TAFE English classes not adequately meeting the needs of groups with differing English skill levels
  • discrimination
  • stereotyping
  • the need to work deters some from seeking an education
  • working more to send money to family in Africa
  • non-citizen/humanitarian visa holders cannot access HECS
  • culture shock
  • lack of education tradition
  • transport issues
  • mothers without a partner or other family to support them do not have enough child care resources
  • cultural gender bias.
    "African Australian women can face barriers from their own communities who may have differing expectations of women in regards to education."
  • families with children with disabilities not knowing what services are available to help them
  • housing problems.

(c) What specific education opportunities would be most helpful to newly-arrived African Australians?

(i) Community

The following education opportunities were identified as being most helpful to newly- arrived African Australians:

  • employment of multicultural aides and teachers
  • scholarships
  • orientation programs for students and parents
  • after schooling tutoring and support/homework programs
  • extension of ESL program
  • bilingual programs
  • careers forums
  • tertiary support programs
  • youth mentoring programs.

The employment of multicultural education aides (MEA) and teachers from the communities was identified as a particularly helpful strategy to enhance
educational opportunities. MEAs are employed by schools in some states to support ESL learners, their families, and the families of students who
require language other than English assistance in their communication with the school. The MEA's skills in a language, or languages, other than English
enable them to act as a bridge between the school and families.

Scholarships were also identified as a way of increasing educational opportunities. Several examples of scholarship programs including:

Canberra Refugee Support Scholarships
Scholarships are awarded to 15 refugees settling in the ACT. All are either students at the Canberra Institute of Technology or an ACT English centre,
or who are community members who would like to begin studying in the near future.

After schooling tutoring and support/homework programs were strongly supported, and many examples of good practice were provided including: the
Multicultural Council Northern Territory's Homework Club, the African Homework Help Club based at the North Melbourne Flemington Housing Estates and a
unique tutoring program offered by the United Somali Women's Organisation and the Drum Centre in Victoria.

A significant part of the success of homework support groups is the social interaction. Respondents highlighted that these kinds of initiatives support
young people to build relationships with other students and build their confidence to ensure that they are inspired enough to continue their education.

Community respondents drew attention to the value of supporting bilingual and multilingual programs as a way of enhancing an appreciation of linguistic
diversity, and believed that English language learning should be provided alongside the continued development of the first language of the student:

"This kind of approach that says both English and the language of the student's family is important. It helps with family communication and stops the
sort of family breakups we are seeing with intergenerational conflict."

(Community leader, SA)

Other benefits identified by respondents familiar with, or involved in the delivery of bilingual/multilingual programs included:

  • greater flexibility of thinking
  • improved self-esteem
  • greater understanding and pride in their ethnicity
  • ongoing good communication between home and the wider ethnic community group
  • better vocational and life options.

Community respondents were also keen to suggest a number of strategies that could be adopted by teachers and educational institutions in order to
improve the current experiences of students, thereby enhancing their future education options. Suggestions included:

  • creating a more welcoming environment
  • better assessment of student needs
  • cross-cultural training for staff
  • better relationships between staff and parents
  • teaching styles that are inclusive and flexible
  • tertiary support programs
  • youth mentoring programs.

Bridging programs were also identified by several respondents as an effective way of accommodating the needs of newly-arrived and refugee young people
who cannot access secondary school in Australia due to age or low levels of English and general education, or those who would like to study in a
non‐school setting. Such programs should increase the refugee young person's knowledge about the education, training and employment system,
language and literacy skills and information on the world of work and future career pathway options.

(ii) Stakeholders

Stakeholders made the following suggestions in relation to helpful education opportunities:

  • orientation programs to the Australian education system
  • transition or bridging programs to assist students exiting from ELS/Cs
  • early intervention programs aimed at kindergarten and primary school children
  • programs, for parents, be provided in mainstream schools that offer support, family counselling and training in social skills, life skills and
    cultural transition
  • development and implementation of culturally appropriate classroom management strategies, including culturally appropriate curriculum
  • cultural competency programs for education institutions, particularly for teachers.
  • after school learning clubs/classes
  • Student Support Programs (Tertiary)
  • mentoring programs
  • increase in ESL and support teachers, including multicultural teachers' aides.

An example cited of an orientation program included:

African Pathways Program
The African Pathways Program assists refugee children and families from the Central Horn of Africa who are living in Darebin and Banyule, Victoria. The
aim of the program is to increase the likelihood of African young people making positive transitions into and through secondary school and to improve
student, parent and community awareness about the Australian education system. This is achieved by providing appropriate information in a culturally
relevant manner. The program aims to increase their school connectedness through activities such as learning clubs, recreation and leisure activities
and also offer ESL Conversational English classes and Mothers Groups.
Please see:

Stakeholder respondents unanimously agreed that there is an urgent need for greater levels of support to be provided for newly-arrived refugee young
people transitioning from Intensive English Centres (IECs) to mainstream state and Catholic systemic schools:

Several examples of programs aimed at assisting newly-arrived students to make the transition from IECs to mainstream high schools were cited by
stakeholders including:

Refugee Action Support (RAS)
Refugee Action Support (RAS) is an initiative of the University of Western Sydney (UWS), the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation (ALNF) and the
NSW Department of Education and Training (DET). It aims to help humanitarian refugee children to make the transition from Intensive English Centres to
mainstream Australian high schools. RAS is aimed at providing focused literacy and numeracy support through the provision of tutoring centres;
identifying the most effective pedagogies for use with refugee children; and developing pre-service teachers' understanding of diverse student learners
to best prepare them for the challenges and dynamics they will encounter in their future classrooms.
Please see:
CALD Support Program at the University of Tasmania
The CALD Support Program at the University of Tasmania (UTAS) supports the transition to university life for more than 600 Culturally and
Linguistically Diverse students, predominantly from African, Latin American and Middle Eastern countries, many of whom have been refugees in the recent
past. The program uses a relationship-based approach to supporting the cultural, social and academic transition of its people, with an emphasis on
developing the self-sufficiency required for university success. Program design and review is iterative and conducted in collaboration with students,
their communities and the UTAS community.
Please see:

An increase in ESL and support teachers, such as language and culturally specific teachers' aides from African Australian communities was strongly
recommended by several stakeholders as a way of providing additional assistance for newly-arrived African Australian students in the classroom and the
schooling environment. Stakeholders also advocated the need for teaching and support staff in mainstream schools to be trained and aware of the issues
facing newly-arrived African Australian young people and ESL support, to effectively identify and address their needs when they do transition into
mainstream schools.

Early intervention programs aimed at kindergarten and primary school aged children were identified by several stakeholders as critical to ensuring
newly-arrived children are not "trapped in the cycle before [they] start". Examples of good practice models were offered, including the following:

Boroondara Kindergarten
The Sudanese playgroup at the kindergarten offers support to Sudanese families with children under 5 years, many of whom have experienced trauma as a
result of their refugee experiences. A Sudanese teacher is employed to work alongside the existing teaching team and engage family members in play with
their children, building on cultural practices such as weaving, beading, hair braiding and cooking. Other families from the kindergarten are also
involved, and this provides opportunities for cultural exchange and non-threatening role modelling of different ways of parenting. Local community
services are also be involved, allowing Sudanese families easier access to information and support.

Several stakeholders highlighted that a formal style classroom curriculum is often not the best or most appropriate way for newly-arrived communities
to make progress or attain a level of English that they believe will be most useful in their daily life. They suggested that education programs need to
be supported, developed and provided further within schools and TAFE and alternative learning opportunities need to be undertaken in the community in
order to offer a range of options for African Australians to learn. For example, home tutoring or more informal classes may be more conducive to
achieving positive outcomes, such as:

The Home Tutor Scheme
The Home Tutor Scheme, which is part of the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP), assists eligible migrants and humanitarian entrants who cannot attend
English classes due to family commitments. Tutoring usually takes place in the migrant's home, creating an informal, relaxed atmosphere. Alternatively,
volunteers may assist in conversation practice in AMEP classes. Home tutors receive initial and ongoing training, support and access to teaching
Please see:

(iii) Public submissions

Specific education opportunities highlighted in the submissions include:

  • intensive ESL programs to extend English language tuition when AMEP is not enough
  • more VCAL opportunities
  • more flexibility with school timetables and age restrictions.

A number of submissions provided recommendations for increasing African Australians access to education, including:

  • establish policies that allow for recognition of prior learning and qualifications
  • provide a testing process for applicants to prove their education if appropriate documentation is not available
  • offer scholarships for refugees with limited income
  • establish an orientation program for all students and their parents prior to entering school to:
  • conduct oral presentations on information for parents as printed materials are not a successful method of communication for some African
  • initiate a 'whole of school' approach to cultural awareness and valuing diversity
  • provide after school tutoring
  • provide more financial support for school supplies
  • employ multicultural and ESL educators
  • English classes at schools and TAFE that more adequately target the needs of different African Australian groups
  • encourage greater parental involvement so parents and students understand requirements and expectations
  • provide interpreters for parents at school meetings
  • provide training for educators and counsellors on refugee-specific issues (especially torture and trauma)
  • advise families with children with disabilities about services available to help them
  • offer additional training in conjunction with language classes.
(d) How can interpreting and translation services be improved to provide better access and assistance to African Australians in the education
(i) Community

Community respondents strongly supported the use of interpreters in educational contexts, with many sharing positive experiences of enhanced
communication between themselves as parents and teachers.

Interpreters had been utilised in a number of different educational contexts including:

  • parent/teacher meetings
  • enrolment
  • information about school procedures, requirements and events
  • negotiating situations of misunderstanding and/or conflict.

A small number of community respondents identified a number of gaps in relation to interpreters including:

  • low utilisation of interpreters by some mainstream educational institutions
  • lack of availability of interpreters in some more newly-arrived African language groups
  • issues related to confidentiality.

Several respondents also provided examples where children were used to interpret during parent teacher sessions, creating tension between the young
person and their family:

"To me, it doesn't make sense that you would use the same child that you are talking about as an interpreter in a teacher and parent interview."
(Participant, Community focus group, ACT)

It was suggested that these situations needed to be addressed in order to improve the effectiveness of interpreting and translation services.

(ii) Stakeholders

A number of issues were raised, including:

  • low utilisation rates, including teachers not receiving adequate training on how to access interpreting and translating services
  • inappropriate use of MEAs as interpreters
  • lack of availability of properly accredited interpreters in some African languages
  • challenges associated with translating complex curriculum documents.

6.3 Education experiences

(a) What are the experiences of young African Australians in educational institutions (e.g. schools, universities, TAFE, colleges) in Australia?
(i) Community

Young people referred to a range of experiences as characteristic of their interactions with educational institutions, both positive and negative.
Negative experiences included:

  • discrimination and racism directed at them by both students and teachers
  • frustration at being grouped as 'refugees' or 'African Australians' within the school environment
  • difficulties in establishing friendships with non African Australians
  • finding the mainstream curriculum and its language demands very difficult
  • adjusting to a new educational system and social conditions - experiences of culture shock
  • frustration at being placed in classes to match their chronological age as opposed to their actual level of educational attainment
  • difficulty in adjusting to formal education when there is no experience of such an education environment in countries of origin
  • inadequate levels of support, particularly in schools that are not properly resourced
  • reduced levels of self-confidence and low self-esteem resulting from lack of support/feelings of 'failure'.

Positive experiences included:

  • teachers being helpful and addressing racism and discrimination in the classroom
  • feeling a sense of belongingness - actively supported and promoted within the school community.

Two focus groups were also conducted with tertiary students, who provided various stories about their experiences. Broadly, these included:

  • adjustment issues in academic study and social and psychological well-being
  • lack of sufficient induction - better induction and integration into the university/TAFE were reportedly more likely to predict positive student
  • confusion around enrolment processes
  • additional pressures around financially supporting family members and so on.

Discrimination and prejudice was described by many respondents as being an ever-present reality for African Australians within educational

"You just get blamed anyway, so I have tried to stop reacting to being bullied, but sometimes it doesn't help and you get into trouble for disrupting.
How come the person who is being racist doesn't get into trouble?"

(Participant, Youth Focus Group, NSW)

Many believed that the media was largely responsible for the increasing racism that they were experiencing, particularly since the various
international events involving terrorist acts.

"I wear the hijab, and I get harassed every single day. Not so much anymore at my own school, but on the way there or on the way home, or when we go
and attend a sporting event at another school. You can't feel accepted if that is how you are treated."

(Participant, Youth Focus Group, Vic)

It is important to note, that despite the volume of negative experiences expressed, youth respondents also shared some more positive experiences. These
were often the result of receiving affirmation and support from teachers and the school environment more generally:

"When I spoke to the teacher about the harassment and bullying, she was very good and we had some classes about it. She didn't say that I complained
about it, she just talked to everyone about how it wasn't good to do this to other people. It helped me."

(Participant, Youth focus group, Qld)

Several youth respondents advocated the need to promote positive role models for young African Australians as a way of promoting pride and improving
negative perceptions of the educational abilities of African Australian young people:

"I would like to see the teacher use examples of African Australians who have made a contribution to this country when they are talking about these
things in class. That way other students can see that we have made positive contributions to Australia"

(Participant, Youth focus group, Vic)

Specific experiences of tertiary students were elicited during a few focus groups conducted with a number of students who had formed small informal
support groups for each other:

"We decided that no one else was going to help us, so we are helping ourselves. We meet regularly and talk about the challenges and how we can help
each other out. It really helps address problems of isolation and also just basic friendship needs"

(Participant, SA)

(ii) Stakeholders

Stakeholders also conveyed considerable concern in relation to what they perceived to be increasing levels of discrimination within schooling
environments, and urged state and commonwealth governments to implement anti racism strategies within schools as a matter of urgency:

"As a teacher, I can tell you this is an increasing problem, and if it's not addressed, then it's just going to get worse."
(Stakeholder, Qld)

Stakeholders reflected on a number of other issues they believed impacted on the experiences of young African Australians in education institutions.
These included:

  • language of Australian school classrooms may alienate or confuse students
  • cultural expectations and understandings may vary leading to culture shock for both students and parents
  • conflict between parental expectations and student wishes
  • high aspirations to be balanced with realistic pathways, particularly for newly-arrived students
  • confusion around prerequisites for particular University courses - not being able to access accurate information to clarify pathways,
    requirements and so on.
(iii) Public submissions

Issues relating to education experiences were addressed by half (49%) of the submissions.

Many of the submissions reiterated the range of negative and positive experiences highlighted previously when attending educational institutions in

(b) As a parent do you think that schools (public and private) have been helpful and supportive to your children and offered a good education and
opportunities to learn?
(i) Community

Students at school do not learn in isolation; their families play a significant role in their success at school.

Responses to this question varied considerably, with most community respondents agreeing that the educational experiences of their children were
greatly enhanced by those schools and teachers who had actively sought to engage parents and keep them regularly informed of their children's progress.

On the whole, most parents who responded to this question were more likely than not to report less than satisfactory experiences in relation to
parent/school engagement.

Negative experiences included:

  • feeling excluded with little information translated so that parents could access information that their children are receiving at schools
  • not being informed of various programs, including sex education
  • stereotyped views that all African Australian parents are not interested in their children's education
  • feeling intimidated by the school environment
  • no interpreters or bilingual workers being made available and so deterred from attending school organised events, including parent/teacher

There was a strong view expressed at many of the consultations that language barriers should not be the reason for the exclusion of parents from the
schooling of their children.

Several stakeholders also cautioned about the view that cultural reasons posed the greatest barrier for parent involvement, stating that unfamiliarity
with the education system was much more likely to be the reason for lack of involvement:

"The parents may just not understand how best to help their children because of the new system, or how Australian schools operate. This is much more
likely to be a barrier than cultural reasons. It is important that schools don't just rely on cultural information by non African Australian
organisations who keep saying that the issues are cultural. They might actually be about lack of information delivered in a culturally and
linguistically appropriate way."

(Community Leader, NSW)

Parents reported being extremely keen to learn more about the education system and how they could support their children, but believed they lacked the
local knowledge to make a positive contribution.

Parents also stated their concern that without knowing where to go or who to approach for careers information, their children would miss out on

A small number of respondents highlighted the fact that some refugee students in senior secondary school may not have parents or guardians in Australia
and may live with siblings or on their own and issues for these unaccompanied minors needed to be specifically addressed.

Community respondents also mentioned a number of more positive experiences in relation to school/parent engagements. These included:

  • the value of having one-on-one assistance
  • school counselling services provided in the language of the parents/family
  • multicultural aides employed at the school.
(c) As a parent are you actively involved in the school that your children attend and if yes, how did this happen and what is your involvement?
(i) Community

There were several examples provided where parents/carers/families reporting feeling that they were actively involved in the school that their children
attended. The reasons provided for such involvement included:

  • ESL teacher or MEA available during parent/teacher evenings, as well as interpreter
  • distribution of translated information
  • attending multicultural event/festival at the school, resulting in ongoing engagement
  • School Focused Youth Services
  • sitting on the school council or being involved in decision-making groups
  • active encouragement by the school welfare co-ordinator
  • parents being invited to run a number of school based events, including cultural information days for students and other parents
  • school is welcoming, positive, respectful and supportive of parents from African Australian backgrounds - for example, 'welcome' signs in key
    languages spoken by the students, including African languages.

A number of parents spoke of the benefits of enrolling their students in Islamic schools:

"There is understanding there and the teachers know my expectations. They are always inviting us to be involved in our children's education and their

(Participant, Community Focus Group, Vic)

(d) How can young African Australians manage any conflict that may arise between their family responsibilities and education?
(i) Community

Young people responding to this question highlighted the following strategies to resolve conflict that might arise between their family
responsibilities and education:

  • greater financial assistance to support them to focus on their studies - students are often not only financially responsible for family residing
    in Australia, but possibly family members overseas
  • programs to assist parents to better understand the cultural pressures that young people experience trying to navigate between two cultures
  • programs to assist young people to explore their identity in a new environment
  • specific programs to address expectations of young girls/women.

Parents were more likely to suggest that the conflict was the result of cultural clashes and the lack of adequate involvement by schools and other
mainstream organisations, particularly youth organisations.

A number of parents/carers reported a sense of losing their status, and dignity particularly as a result of depending on their children and their
ability to speak English to access a range of services, including health and education services:

"You feel very small when your child is helping you ask for help especially for doctors and other things."
(Participant, Community focus group, NT)

This shift in power balance was perceived to be one of the most significant in relation to intergenerational conflict.

Parents/community leaders agreed that without effective parenting and/or community support, young people are at risk of being engaged by more
destructive patterns and cultures. Suggestions included:

  • creating awareness of the new culture and new ways of doing things among parents
  • realising that some old ways are worth preserving - and for young people they may not have to choose to reject the old for the new or vice versa
  • improving access to English which can then improve parent's capacity to engage in mainstream and reduce loss of status and so on
  • more support resources at schools which better connect and support parents to understand new social, cultural and educational systems.

Importantly, most community respondents urged service providers to focus on strength-based approaches to programs, rather than approaches that many
said served to diminish the value of their cultural frameworks:

"These cultures have survived for a very long time so there must be something in them. Please don't be quick to put them down as tribal and not modern.
There are some very useful things that can help solve many of the problems we see in society today."

(Community leader, Tas)

The experience of migration often strengthens family ties and can lead to family members feeling more connected and protective of each other. This
should be a key feature of programs that are developed according to several community leaders and respondents.

(ii) Stakeholders

Stakeholder respondents predominantly highlighted cultural differences as the core reason for intergenerational conflict, particularly:

  • differing concepts of 'adulthood', 'childhood' and so on
  • expectations of contribution to the household by young people
  • discipline and family structure, including father as authority
  • expectations of parents/older generations around socialising only within culture
  • concept of "individualism" which is not part of many non-western cultures where the family and community are the foundations of society.

Additional issues identified as impacting on parent/children relationships included:

  • grief and loss
  • post-traumatic stress
  • isolation and lack of social connectedness
  • language barriers.
(e) Are there any issues you are aware of for overseas students (fee-paying or subsidised) from African countries?
(i) Community

The issue of overseas students from Africa was not one that was widely canvassed during the community consultations.

Reference was made to The Kenyan-Australian Alumni Association (KAAA), which is a Kenyan-based alumni association that seeks to bring
together those Kenyans who have studied in Australian Institutions.

(ii) Stakeholders

A number of stakeholders, particularly from Victoria, NSW, Queensland and South Australia raised issues related to overseas students from African

Stakeholders in NSW made reference to an International Forum at the University of Sydney which brought together leaders and thinkers
from Africa and Australia to present their views on Australia's relationship with Africa.

Guests included High Commissioners from African countries, representatives from NGOs, AusAid, DFAT, Austrade, the Australia Africa Business Council,
the African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific, as well as African postgraduate students and academics from a number of Australian
universities. The one-day seminar program focused on specific topics including public health, governance, legal reform, education, extractive
industries and private sector development.

The Africa Australia Network is an interdisciplinary group of academics, general staff and PhD students who are committed to enhancing
the University of Sydney's research linkages and collaborations in Africa.

The Network provides an institutional home for cross-sectoral collaboration between researchers, government bodies and the business community with a
focus on agriculture, governance, law and health.

Several stakeholders involved in the Victorian tertiary education sector highlighted that the University of Melbourne has more than
200 students from Africa currently studying at the University and that the Melbourne Law School has an exchange program with the
University of Cape Town Law Faculty.

Monash University's Africa Research Initiative (MARI) has received considerable accolade. MARI is an initiative of Monash University in collaboration with other universities within Australia and Africa,
and with universities beyond the borders of those two countries. The initiative will focus on research on Africa, initially with special emphasis on
those areas with commercial, historical and migration ties with Australia.

Other national developments of interest include the establishment of the Australian Scholarships for Africa program which aims to
promote sustainable development in Africa. The program includes postgraduate level Australian Development Scholarships in addition to the Australia
Africa Fellowships.

6.4 Educational needs for African Australian students

(a) Can you suggest any programs and services that can provide additional support to African Australian students during their education?
(i) Community

Overall, community respondents highlighted that there is a greater need for:

  • more teachers from African Australian backgrounds - this also provides important role models for young people in schools
  • induction and cultural orientation programs to enhance student's understanding of cultural differences and expectations within the Australian
    education system
  • more classes to be held in informal community settings
  • more English language options for youth aged 15 to 18 years who drop out of school or who finish school without adequate English skills to move
    into vocational training or employment
  • more tuition hours to be available to achieve English proficiency levels commensurate with employment requirements and/or to transition into
    further study
  • better learning options for mothers who are unable to be provided with childcare for their children
  • bilingual support in class
  • better learning resources
  • preparatory and transitional support programs
  • community language schools
  • more scholarship and financial support to assist with the financial pressure to provide for families in Australia and abroad.

A common theme to emerge during consultations was the need for role models in school for young people of refugee background, including more teachers
from their own community. Currently there are trained teachers in the African Australian community but often they lack Australian teaching experience
or qualifications. Even after completing teacher training courses they are then required to sit an international English exam before they are allowed
to teach.

Several respondents suggested that additional tutoring would greatly assist newly-arrived students, many of whom are not able to access support through
family or community networks. Several good practice examples referred to by community participants include:

SAIL was established in Melbourne in 2001 and has expanded rapidly to now include campuses in NSW. SAIL tutors offer tutoring to members of the
Sudanese community. It is operated by a volunteer staff of about 400 people, including over 370 tutors. Most activities operated by the SAIL program
run every Saturday morning. These activities include:

  • English as a second language tutoring for Sudanese children and teenagers
  • English as a second language tutoring for Sudanese adults. The aim of this program is to provide adults with contacts to improve their English
    language skills and to enable them to consolidate their children's learning at home
  • Home Help engages experienced female SAIL volunteers to offer weekday home visits to Sudanese mothers for three hours.
Please see:

A number of respondents also highlighted the need to ensure that the existence of particular services and programs be actively promoted amongst
community members. For example, respondents reported that despite various resources aimed at assisting newly-arrived students to transition to
university, these services tended to be underused, and often misunderstood. This then served to deter students from seeking to access them as they were
often uncertain about the nature of the support, or the appropriateness of the programs provided.

(ii) Stakeholders

Stakeholder respondents cited a number of examples of programs designed to provide additional support to African Australian students. Some of these
examples follow:

Refugee Students Assistance Scheme
The NSW Department of Education provides a range of refugee support programs and resources. One such program is the Refugee Students Assistance Scheme
that helps refugee students in NSW government schools by providing limited financial support. Schools who have the largest refugee student populations
receive funding. School principals use the funds in ways which will be support students in their school. Funds may be used for textbooks, excursions,
subject costs, stationery, and uniforms.
Please see:
Homework support programs
An increasing number of homework programs are being established. In Western Sydney the St Vincent de Paul's Society's SPARK program is running homework
help at schools rather than at community centres in an attempt to increase involvement and the support of parents and teachers. This is part of wider
and coordinated efforts by agencies in NSW to provide services in schools in order to increase the likelihood of reaching refugee parents. STARTTS and
Newcastle University Students Association have a mentoring program linking university students as mentors for high school students of refugee
background and working with them on homework and recreational activities.
Please see:
Learning Beyond the Bell
The Learning Beyond the Bell program has a key aim to increase the connectedness of students of refugee and migrant backgrounds to school and
the community at the same time it improves student attitudes to learning. The program coordinates Out of School Hours Learning Support Programs that
operate in Victoria. Consistency and accessibility of the programs is central to ensuring that the educational needs of young people are supported.
Please see:
The Beaut Buddies Program
The Beaut Buddies program is designed to improve the transition of young people from refugee backgrounds from the language acquisition
programs provided on arrival in Australia, into mainstream education and training programs. Over a three-year period, Foundation House (Vic) will work with three on-arrival English Language Schools at Noble Park, Blackburn and Broadmeadows as well as
six mainstream secondary schools to:

  • further develop transition processes for students
  • improve inter-cultural contact between students, their families and the schools
  • establish a 'buddy' system where mainstream students volunteer to buddy incoming English Language School students
  • produce a resource guide and professional development program to enable Beaut Buddies to be replicated in other locations.
Following a range of shared projects and events, students participating in the buddy program will be encouraged to establish a sustainable student body
to take responsibility for the Beaut Buddies program and to encourage positive relationships and social harmony within the school community.
Please see:
(iii) Public submissions

Issues relating to educational needs were addressed by half (51%) of the submissions.

Programs and services mentioned in submissions to provide additional support to African Australian students during their education include:

  • Dickson College in Canberra has a program that supports people who have missed a lot of education in developing skills to undertake school work
    at a level appropriate for their age (s22)
  • Adult Migrant English Program funded through DIAC (s51)
  • Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program provided through RTOs (s51)
  • free community programs run by MRCs (s51)
  • social and sport programs run by Youth Clubs, the PCYCs, MRC Youth programs, regional and metropolitan council programs (s51)
  • Victorian Foundation of Torture and Trauma and Phoenix Centre (Hobart) counselling services (s51)
  • IHSS and Settlement Grants Programs (s51).
(b) How can Australian education institutions (e.g. schools, universities, TAFE, colleges) meet and support the specific cultural needs of African
Australian students, especially those who arrive as refugees or asylum seekers?
(i) Community

Community respondents reiterated a number of key points made in response to previous questions asked, including:

  • utilisation of multicultural/bilingual staff, including teachers from within the African Australian communities
  • use of respected community members as cultural mediators
  • greater utilisation of strength based approaches to engaging parents as part of their children's education experience
  • implementation of anti racism awareness programs for staff and students
  • availability of religious and cultural spaces within schools and other education institutions to enhance access (for example, provision of
    prayer space)
  • celebration of cultural and religious events as part of whole of school approach
  • build relationships with community groups and organisations to increase awareness of cultural issues
  • cross-cultural training for staff
  • build cultural information into school curriculum
  • establish buddy systems.
(ii) Stakeholders

Examples were provided by a number of stakeholder respondents of programs that had been implemented by schools and other education institutions to meet
the cultural needs of African Australian students.

One example is:

Multicultural Council of the Northern Territory
The Multicultural Council of the Northern Territory has been conducting multicultural excursions to places of worship for local schools in recent
years. Feedback received suggests that the programs have been extremely successful in increasing awareness amongst secondary school students of the
nature of Darwin's multifaith and multicultural communities. These excursions are planned to the themes of inclusion, social history and cultural
diversity and are aligned with the curriculum. The MCNT arranges the schedule, authoritative speakers and the itinerary and the excursions are popular
with teachers and Middle School students.
Please see:
(iii) Public submissions

Responses provided by public submissions included:

  • provide appropriate information about support and referral services
  • involve African communities in designing and delivering programs
  • employ African teachers and teachers' aids
  • provide culturally inclusive policies and cultural awareness training for staff
  • provide refugee counselling to deal with trauma issues
  • establish home tutoring programs
  • provide culturally appropriate facilities, for example, a designated place for prayer
  • establish faculty partnerships for example, co-developed and co-delivered English language and hospitality course
  • develop cross-cultural exchanges and events for students
  • develop student mentoring programs
  • encourage and support student clubs and societies
  • provide translation and interpreter services during orientation programs and bilingual resources in libraries.
(c) What training and support should be put in place to assist educators to better understand complex refugee situations?
(i) Community

Community respondents expressed the view that any training and support which increases the awareness of educators in relation to the experiences of
newly-arrived refugee and humanitarian entrants would be of benefit:

"Increasing teacher and student awareness and understanding of different cultures and the refugee experience assists in creating a school environment
supportive to refugee students."

(Community leader, NSW)

Community respondents were, however, quick to stress the need to engage people within the African Australian communities to provide the training and
education sessions, suggesting that much of the information currently being provided served to further reinforce stereotypes:

"It is important that schools use people within the community as the experts of their own culture. There is so much around that is delivered about us
by people who are not us. This has to be challenged. Lots of times I hear the information and it makes me angry because it says things that are so
general and at times just not accurate."

(Community leader, WA)

(ii) Stakeholders

Stakeholder respondents highlighted the following examples of training and support programs currently in place to assist educators to better understand
complex refugee situations:

National Centre for Vocational Educational Research Teaching Guide for adult learners
The National Centre for Vocational Educational Research has produced a guide for educators working with refugee and humanitarian entrants who come from
highly oral cultural backgrounds, particularly those from African countries. This guide provides a set of 'good practice' strategies for designing
effective English language, literacy and numeracy programs for all adult learners from highly oral cultural backgrounds.
Please see:
NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS)
STARTTS provides training and development in relation to the needs of refugee students for teachers, school counsellors and other regional and
school-based personnel. Training includes specialist workshops and the provision of outreach education in which training is designed for specific
client groups.
Please see:
Settling In
This is a group program for newly arrived refugee and migrant students which was designed for school counsellors as an early intervention program,
using group counselling techniques. The program aims to assist students in the process of adjustment to life in a new country.
Please see:
A World of Difference - OMI (WA)
The Department of Education and Office of Multicultural Interests has produced A World of Difference - A resource for teachers to introduce students to
the principles of multiculturalism in Western Australia. This resource has been developed to assist teachers provide knowledge, skills, understanding
and appreciation of WA's cultural diversity. The resource provides inter-active educational activities on issues including perceptions and the media,
stereotyping and its consequences, the nature of discrimination and multiculturalism in a national and international context.
Please see:
'School's In for Refugees - Foundation House (Vic)
This is a comprehensive introductory training from Foundation House for those working with refugee background students. This training is appropriate
for those working in schools and other educational settings, at primary, secondary and post compulsory levels.
The training covers:

  • the refugee experience for young people including their prior education experiences
  • the impact of trauma on young people's learning and wellbeing
  • identifying strategies that teachers and other staff can use in the classroom that support the recovery process
  • exploring a whole school approach and key areas where school can increase support for refugee background students.
Please see:

6.5 Discrimination in education

(a) Can you provide examples of how African Australians are treated differently in the education sector?
(i) Community

Numerous examples were provided by community respondents where African Australians were perceived to be treated differently in the education sector.
Discrimination was experienced in both overt and covert terms, with several community respondents suggesting that the covert forms were much more
difficult to challenge:

"It's very hard when you are told it is in your head. There is nothing that is actually said, it's just you know that you were not picked for a class,
or given an award because you are black."

(Participant, Youth focus group, NSW)

Additional examples included:

  • Racial slurs and abuse, including examples of physical attacks either at school, on the way to school or on public transport
  • Stereotyped views of their capacity to learn
  • Over emphasis on refugee backgrounds, even when African Australians were born in Australia
  • Negative perceptions of Muslim students
  • Reinforcement of being an ' outsider'.
(ii) Stakeholders

Stakeholders provided similar examples of discrimination and differential treatment, including:

  • students being blamed for the actions of other, often non-African students
  • failure to follow up on allegations of discrimination by other students.
(iii) Public submissions

Issues relating to discrimination in education were addressed by a third (31%) of the submissions.

The submissions provided many examples of how African Australians are treated differently in the education system. Some examples include:

  • indirect discrimination through school policies that don't take into account the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students
  • direct discrimination from teacher and other students resulting in social isolation
  • teaching staff not understanding post-traumatic stress disorder and inappropriately disciplining students who need help
  • Students are often unaware of complaint procedures and feel intimidated by authority figures
  • teachers may mistake cultural behaviours as inappropriate:

    "In some cultures it is respectful to not look elders and teachers in the eye; to look away. A female student may not answer any question if her male
    relatives are in the class."

(b) What is the impact of this discrimination?
(i) Community

Community respondents overwhelming agreed that the impact of discrimination was significant, and constituted a major barrier to successful settlement,
particularly for young people. In relation to education, and access to educational opportunities the impact was seen to be primarily one of limiting
options and reinforcing young people's sense of inadequacy.

In summary, community respondents described the impact in the following ways:

  • impacts negatively on a young person's life chances - limited education further limits employment opportunities
  • reinforces young people's feelings of insecurity and discomfort and emphasises the differences between them and "other Australians"
  • creates tensions between African Australian young people and the non African Australians generally
  • influences the attitudes of other students towards the African youth in schools
  • Creates a feeling of not being a part of the mainstream community and results in young people feeling isolated
  • Affects young people's mental health and development in negative ways
  • adds to the resettlement issues young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds already face, making their journey more difficult and in some
    cases traumatic
  • creates anger, fear and distress, which may sometimes lead to 'outbursts' or 'fights' with those perceived to be the perpetrators of
    discrimination and racism
  • leads to young people dropping out of school and interfacing with the criminal justice system
  • stereotypes and negative images can be internalised, denigrating young people's self-worth and adversely affecting their social and
    psychological functioning.
(ii) Stakeholders

Stakeholders identified similar impacts, highlighting the fact that discrimination is a major cause of social inequality and social inclusion:

"Racism and discrimination undermines the young person's sense of themselves and what we see is a lot of conflict and anger that emerges as a result,
particularly with the young men."

(Service Provider, Vic)

Several stakeholders, particularly those working with mental health or torture trauma services were particularly concerned for the deleterious impact
that discrimination can have on young people's health and mental health.

(iii) Public submissions

The negative impact of this discrimination identified in the public submissions includes:

  • general reduction in student welfare
  • erosion of self-confidence and self-esteem
  • social isolation
  • depression and other mood disorders
  • reduced motivation and reduction of trust in education system
  • reduced achievement of educative outcomes
  • increased delinquency rates
  • increased health problems
  • increased likelihood of encountering problems with the law.

6.6 The effect of religion, age, gender, sexuality and disability

(a) Are the education experiences of African Australians different based on religion, age, gender, sexuality or disability? Please provide reasons
in your answer.

"Educate a man and you educate one person; educate a woman and you educate a whole nation."
(Quoted during the focus group with the African Women's Advocacy Training Program NSW)

A number of community respondents expressed the view that women faced specific barriers to accessing education opportunities, and as a result
experienced differential outcomes in terms of employment opportunities.

Specific barriers identified included:

  • lack of or inadequate childcare facilities - without affordable and easily accessible childcare options, women, particularly widowed and single
    mothers, cannot access education opportunities
  • stereotyped views of young women's capacity to learn
  • socially accepted gender roles and the position of females in many societies may have a strong impact on the needs of adolescent girls
  • lack of women only education facilities.

A number of good practice programs were identified:

River Nile Learning Centre
The River Nile Learning Centre provides support for a homework help program and English language classes for adult Sudanese women. The Centre's program
for female refugees aged 15-21 began a couple of years ago with support from Debney Park Secondary College in Flemington, the Western English Language
School in Braybrook and the St John's Anglican parish The program was created to help women with limited English skills and little experience of formal
education to receive qualifications and enable them to find work.
Please see:
The Africa Women Support Group
The Africa Women Support Group aims to help women from various African countries to adjust to life in Australia and overcome problems of social
isolation and economic hardship. Volunteers work with African women in the Greater Dandenong area to assist them with gaining computer literacy and
with researching and applying for employment opportunities.
(i) Public submissions

Issues relating to the effects of religion, age, sexuality and disability on African Australian's ability to access education were addressed by one
fifth (19%) of the submissions.

These issues include:

  • females can be disadvantaged by cultural bias toward education and lack of child care options
  • adults and young people often have different experiences through different programs
  • some adult males do not want to participate in programs with their children due to cultural biases that make it humiliating for them
  • there is often no coordinated support for culturally and linguistically diverse people with disabilities.

6.7 Government and education policies

(a) Do government education policies and program design meet the needs of African Australians? Please give reasons in your answer.
(i) Community

Most community respondents were of the view that government education policies and program design are still falling short of meeting the needs of
African Australians, despite considerable improvements.

Several community respondents shared the view that the approach to education policies for African Australians, particularly young people, was primarily
deficit driven, with little attention to the protective factors that may contribute. A number of other stakeholders also made reference to what they
saw as the failure of western approaches to give proper and due value to cultural and traditional knowledge:

"The system here does not have much time for older wise people and for our stories that we have told for many, many years. There is maybe something
both sides can learn from each other."

There was fairly widespread agreement amongst many community respondents that schools and other educational institutions have ignored or rejected
different cultural expressions of child development that are normal and adequate, and on which school skills and knowledge can be built.

There was a widespread view that children with well-developed native languages experience greater success in learning English. Children with strong
cultural and linguistic identities have high self-esteem and psychological health, both of which contribute positively to learning.

Community respondents commended what they saw as an increasing number of institutions integrating intercultural knowledge and understanding into
curriculum documents.

(ii) Stakeholders

Stakeholder respondents also suggested that various policies and programs were still failing to meet the specific and complex needs of most African
Australians, particularly new arrivals.

A number of stakeholder respondents provided various examples of good practice programs currently being implemented by both federal and state

Multicultural Programs Unit, NSW Department of Education
The Multicultural Programs Unit operates across the NSW public school system. It uses a multi-pronged approach including strategic advice and support
to schools and regions on multicultural policies; programs and services such as anti-racism education; English as a Second Language (ESL) education;
culturally-inclusive curriculum; migration and settlement services; refugee support programs; community relations and community harmony and translation
and interpreting services.
The Unit has a state-wide network of multicultural/ESL consultants and community information officers working on the ground and also coordinates
programs such as the Refugee Students Assistance Scheme, the Cultural Exchange Program and Youth Partnerships with Arabic-speaking and Pacific
Please see:

Several other respondents referred to state government policies around multicultural education. Multicultural education ensures that
all students have access to inclusive teaching and learning experiences.

(iii) Public submissions

Issues relating to government and education policies were addressed by a quarter (26%) of the submissions.

Comments relating to the ability of the Government's education policies and programs to meet the needs of African Australians include:

  • 510 hours of English is generally not enough to enable African Australians to fulfil education goals
  • the needs of youth need to be better addressed
  • government policy is unlikely to identify African Australians as a separate groups and the complex needs of individuals need to be recognised.