HUGHES, Helen. Eminent economist on Educational Apartheid crippling Indigenous children in an Apartheid Australia

According to the Australian Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) “Professor Helen Hughes AO is Professor Emeritus, the Australian National University, and Senior Fellow at the CIS [Centre for Independent Studies]. Her expertise ranges from the Australian economy, economic development and aid, international trade, Indigenous affairs and capital flows. She was Professor of Economics and Director of the National Centre for Development Studies at ANU from 1983 to 1993, and a member of the Fitzgerald Committee on Immigration: A Commitment to Australia. She also worked at the World Bank from 1968 to 1983 and was a member of the United Nations Committee for Development Planning from 1987 to 1993. Widely published on a range of topics and regularly interviewed in the media, Professor Hughes has recently focussed on issues of development in the Pacific and Australia's remote Indigenous communities. Her recent work has included numerous Issue Analysis papers and press articles” (see: ).


Professor Helen Hughes AO on gross Educational Apartheid in the Northern Territory of Apartheid Australia (2008): “”Aboriginal schools in the Northern Territory have failed to provide Indigenous students with these essentials for entry into the labour force. Some 5,000 Indigenous teenagers, and another 5,000 young men and women in their 20s, are unable to speak English, and are illiterate and non-numerate. They cannot read road signs, menus, or instructions on packages of medicines, cleaning materials, and other packaged goods. Aborigines are often accused of using taxis wastefully, but many cannot read well enough to use public transport. They cannot fill shelves in a supermarket, or serve in a shop or café … These young peoples’ education has made them more foreign in their own country than the latest immigrants from Somalia… To overcome the damage these youngsters’ education has done to them would require sheltered accommodation in English-speaking environments, mentored part-time introductory jobs and one-on-one tuition for one or two years. The cost of sheltered accommodation for teenagers who are unable to live at home is $900 a week in Sydney. If the Northern Territory were serious about tackling the deficit its Aboriginal education polices have created, the cost would be between $500 million and $1 billion.” [1].


Professor Helen Hughes AO on gross Educational Apartheid for Indigenous children from urban welfare dependent families or remote communities (2008):  “Australia, however, has a serious problem in low participation in higher education by students from low socio-economic backgrounds. Indigenous children from urban welfare dependent families, just like non-Indigenous children from similar welfare dependent backgrounds, have very low participation in higher education. The mainstream schools they attend – the so-called “sink” schools – do not provide adequate primary and secondary education to enable these children to proceed to university. Children from remote communities are even more disadvantaged because Indigenous schools in those communities fail to teach basic literacy and numeracy, let alone a full primary curriculum. For these children, the chances of progressing to higher education are negligible. The few Indigenous students from urban welfare dependent families or remote communities who qualify for university entrance are almost always those whose parents have them board with relatives to access quality mainstream schools, or those at quality boarding schools on scholarships, Current government school reform programs do not even aim to eliminate Indigenous schooling deficits (“close the education gap”) by 2018. Under current programs, ten years from now, most Indigenous children from urban welfare dependent backgrounds and remote communities will still be excluded from for [sic] higher education by their sub-standard education… To put it simply, id children are not taught to read, write and count, they have no hope of going to university.. No amount of affirmative action will make any difference.” [2]. ”


[1]. Helen Hughes, “Indigenous education in the Northern Territory”, CIS Policy Monograph 83: .


[2]. Helen Hughes, “The Centre for Independent Studies submission to the Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aborigjnal and Torres Straits Islander People”, 18 November 2011: .