Education including Vocational Training
The Committee on the Rights of the Child (“CRC”) in its Concluding Observations commended the implementation of the National Indigenous Education Action Plan and National Partnership Agreement on Indigenous Early Childhood Development. However, it remains concerned about the serious difficulties accessing education faced by Indigenous children and the low levels of attendance, literacy and numeracy for Aboriginal students. The CRC expressed its further concern that this is exacerbated by the lack of adequate catering to non-English speaking children in the educational system. Accordingly, the CRC recommended that:
- Within the ‘Closing the Gap’ policy framework, the federal government coordinate state and territory governments in ensuring individual Aboriginal education strategies are based on previous policy successes and are undertaken with a long-term approach to collaboration with Aboriginal communities, the education sector, community organisations and professional groups; and
- The government ensure adequate human, technical and financial resources for the protection and promotion of bilingual models of education, both at national and state levels.
- Article 28: All children have the right to an education
- Article 29: Education should develop each child’s personality and talents to the full
NATIONAL: State and federal governments agree to boost indigenous education efforts under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan
In May 2013 state and federal education representatives agreed to the Australian government’s efforts to strengthen resolves towards improvements in Indigenous education results under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan.
The Standing Council on School Education and Early Childhood resolved that every state and territory would do more to reach set targets under the plan, including the development of personalized learning strategies for the 150,000 Indigenous students in Years 1-10 and the development partnerships within identified Focus Schools. 
Ministers also agreed to better reporting standards under the plan.
In addition, the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Amendment Bill 2013 passed in 2013 has increased the funding amounts for the Stronger Futures education scheme, which aims to improve educational outcomes for indigenous students. This increase in funding will benefit the School Nutrition Program and Additional Teachers initiatives specifically under the same Act. 
These agreements and legislative amendments are commendable in that they reflect a coordinated approach to education at both a national and state level, as recommended by the CRC.
NATIONAL: New Indigenous Academic Enrichment Program
A new pilot program aimed at assisting disadvantaged Indigenous high school students to increase their readiness for university by developing their academic skills has been launched in Victoria and New South Wales by the Australian government. 
Students nominated by partner schools for the program will be eligible for participation in a residential academic program, as well as ongoing support.
This is a positive development in student support and Indigenous education, aimed at addressing the low levels of university attendance among disadvantaged Indigenous populations.
NATIONAL: Increase in number of Indigenous students completing Year 12
Studies from the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2012 have shown that the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students staying on at high school until Year 12 has exceeded 50% for the first time.
According to the data, 51.1% of Indigenous students enrolled in both public and private schools across Australia had continued schooling until Year 12, an increase from 48.7% in 2011 and 38% in 2002. 
While this is clearly an important achievement for Indigenous education in Australia, the gaps in education between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians remain significant. The Australian government, in conjunction with state governments, must seek to further implement the Closing the Gap policy framework in order to continue to prioritise Aboriginal education strategies. Consultation with Aboriginal communities, the education sector, community organisations and professional groups should also be sought in order to effectively meet the recommendations of the CRC and to promote better outcomes for Indigenous children and young people.
Developments requiring attention:
NATIONAL: Plan to strengthen Indigenous language teaching in schools
Children who speak languages other than English are more vulnerable to non-enrolment, poor attendance, repetition and are less likely to complete Year 12 in Australia. However, primary education programs that teach students in their native language allow students to effectively develop literacy and numeracy skills.
Policies such as the National Indigenous Languages Policy have been implemented in an effort to both protect the survival of Indigenous languages and promote learning among young people.
The Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages has seen the recent drafting of a curriculum for indigenous language students in schools,  in order to provide access to Indigenous students to their native or cultural languages while at school. However, at this stage it would appear that this curriculum focuses primarily on teaching Indigenous languages to students themselves, rather than teaching other studies in those languages in order to assist students disadvantaged by compulsory English language teaching. 
QLD: New ‘Solid partners Solid futures’ plan
The Queensland government has released a new plan for 2013-2016 called, ‘Solid partners Solid futures,’ which was developed in consultation and partnership with key stakeholders including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, education providers from early childhood education to schooling and tertiary education, private industry and government agencies. 
Solid partners Solid futures calls for a partnership approach to improve early childhood, education and employment outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.  This includes the provision of culturally appropriate teaching and learning strategies, in order to, “enable teachers to effectively support the learning needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school students who speak English as an additional language or dialect”. 
This plan seeks to improve the educational and training outcomes for young people in Queensland and has sought to engage with local Aboriginal communities and service professionals. It is therefore a positive development for the progression of educational attainment for Aboriginal children in the region. However, although one of the key elements of the plan is to ensure all teachers, “apply an understanding of the background, identity, language and culture of learners into what and how they teach,”  there is no provision for bilingual teaching itself as recommended by the CRC.
- Within the ‘Closing the Gap’ policy framework, the federal government coordinate state and territory governments in ensuring individual Aboriginal education strategies are based on previous policy successes and are undertaken with a long-term approach to collaboration with Aboriginal communities, the education sector, community organisations and professional groups.
- The Australian Federal Government work with state and territory governments in committing to the protection and promotion of, and adequate funding for, bilingual models of education.
- Australian government, ‘Ministers agree to lift efforts on indigenous education’ (Media Release, 13 May 2013) (online) at http://www.indigenous.gov.au/ministers-agree-to-lift-efforts-on-indigenous-education/ (accessed 27 November 2013)
- Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Amendment Bill 2013 (Cth)
- Australian government, ‘New program helps indigenous students aim high’ (Media Release, 10 May 2013) (online) at http://www.indigenous.gov.au/new-program-helps-indigenous-students-aim-high/ (accessed 27 November 2013)
- Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘Indigenous students staying on to Year 12 hits all time high’ (Media Release, 20 March 2013) (online) at http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/[email protected]/Latestproducts/4221.0Media%20Release12012?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=4221.0&issue=2012&num=&view= (accessed 27 November 2013)
- See, eg, Australian government, ‘National Indigenous Languages Policy’ (online) at http://arts.gov.au/indigenous/languages (accessed 27 November 2013; Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, ‘Langauges’ (online) at http://www.acara.edu.au/languages.html (accessed 27 November 2013)
- Australian government, ‘First national approach to Indigenous language teaching’ (Media Release, 22 May 2013) (online) at http://www.indigenous.gov.au/first-national-approach-to-indigenous-language-teaching/ (accessed 27 November 2013)
- Queensland government, Solid partners Solid futures (2013) p.5
- Queensland government, Solid partners Solid futures (2013) p.6
- Queensland government, Solid partners Solid futures (2013) p.14
- Queensland government, Solid partners Solid futures (2013) p.12