PricewaterhouseCoopers Indigenous Consulting (PIC) was appointed in February 2017 by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (the department) to undertake a review of Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) funded secondary school scholarships.
Attainment of higher levels of education is directly associated with improved health outcomes, socio-economic status and prosperity. Completion of Year 12 or its equivalent provides an important step along the path to economic participation and access to further training or education opportunity. However, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students’ school completion rates fall well below the rates of their non-Indigenous counterparts.
The IAS’ three core priority areas of getting children to school, adults into work and building safe communities are supported by five programme streams one of which is the Children and Schooling Programme. Under this programme the IAS funds ten scholarship providers to provide secondary school scholarships for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. A smaller number of tertiary scholarships are also delivered by some scholarship providers.
IAS funded secondary school scholarships are intended to help address geographical impediments (students living in isolated and remote communities where education may be sparse or non-existent), access to high quality education providers including boarding schools, and economic barriers (the costs of attending school) preventing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students attaining Year 12 or equivalent qualifications. In addition scholarships can play an important role in promoting the importance of education attainment and participation and place a priority on leadership development as well as providing a strong platform for future economic participation and career outcomes.