Management Education for Australian Aborigines: The Murdi Paaki Experiment
The plight of the Indigenous Nations of Australia is well documented. Despite the best of intentions, interventions in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have not succeeded in overcoming the endemic disadvantage of Indigenous people vis a vis the non-Indigenous population. Life expectancy, infant mortality, education levels, crime rates, imprisonment, employment are just some of the markers that demonstrate the magnitude of the gap. Recent changes in Commonwealth Government policies have acknowledged implicitly that the conventional wisdom is that the “problem” needs to be “managed” out of existence. This reflects a belief, probably widely shared in non-Indigenous Australia, and even in some parts of Indigenous Australia that Indigenous people are somehow inferior in ability and capacity. However, there is little evidence that supports this theory. This paper describes the genesis of an integrated educational program developed in partnership by Charles Sturt University, TAFE NSW and the Murdi Paaki Regional Enterprise Corporation (MPREC). The program was developed as a response to the recognition of the educational disadvantage of the Aboriginal employees of MPREC. The program is based on a developmental perspective of learning for both the individual and the organisation and as a consequence promises to succeed where past interventions have failed.
Keywords: Indigenous Business Education, Educational Disadvantage, Educational Partnerships
Dr. Patrick Bradbery
Director, Professional Development Unit