Conceptual Frameworks for Indigenous Education: Review and Analysis

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


James Cook University


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences


Kurongkurl Katitjin




Partington, G. P. (2002). Conceptual frameworks for Indigenous education: review and analysis. Proceedings of Australian Indigenous Education Conference. Townsville, QLD. James Cook University. Conference website available here.


This paper traces the range of conceptual structures that have been employed in the education of Indigenous children both historically and in the present day. An analysis of these structures reveals the interaction of complex factors that contribute to schooling of Indigenous children and assists in the clarification of pathways to improvement. Following millennia of traditional education within the family group, European invasion resulted in the imposition of new institutional structures that reflected the intentions of governments and agencies towards Indigenous children. Underlying these structures were the ideas and theories that framed them. As government policies towards Indigenous people changed, so did these institutional and conceptual structures. More recent policy developments in Indigenous education have given rise to new conceptual frameworks which, when analysed, provide insights into the potential success of programs that are based on the policies. Suggestions are made in the paper for the future directions of Indigenous education.