The Remote Education Systems project (RES) project concluded in June 2016. The research aimed to find out how remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities can get the best benefit from the teaching and learning happening in and out of schools.

The project found that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote communities believe that the purpose of education is to learn language, country and local knowledge, and for students to become Two-Ways strong. The idea of Two-Way broadly involves language knowledge, including literacy skills of home language and English, and cultural and social knowledge pertaining to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal domains. The importance of education is also to support a student’s identity that promote community leadership and prepare young people for meaningful engagement in the world.

The project engaged directly with more than 1250 education stakeholders from across Australia. More than 1000 people contributed to the findings, most of whom were from remote communities. About one-third of our responses came from remote Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia. The RES team collected data in about 16 different communities, but brought together respondents from more than 40 remote schools across the country (see map).

The team’s outputs included more than 70 peer reviewed papers and articles and a final product, an e-book called Red Dirt Education, covering topics of an 11-part lecture series, is available for download here (large file: 70MB).

The section “Boarding schools and their impact” is of special importance to the remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boarding community, and can be found on pages 126 to 133.