‘So, What is Wrong with Indigenous Education?’ Perspective, Position and Power Beyond a Deficit Discourse


  • Greg Vass The University of Queensland




Indigenous education, discourse, close the gap, policy, CRT, power


It is the aim of this article to provoke debate and encourage greater scrutiny regarding the use and meaning of the expression ‘Indigenous education’ within the discursive practices, research and policy in Australian education. Drawing on Hall's (2007) development of ideas from Foucault that give rise to ‘Indigenous education’ being viewed as a ‘regime of truth’, it is my contention that the widespread and largely uncritical use of this expression is contributing to sustaining deficit assumptions regarding the engagement and outcomes of Indigenous students within Australian schools. To explore this concern, I will first ‘archaeologically’ excavate (Scheurich, 1997) the emergence of this ‘regime’ within the Australian setting. Following on from this, I will discuss and reflect upon recent debates associated with initiatives designed to ‘close the gap’ when comparing Indigenous and non-Indigenous student achievements in education. Given the changes inaugurated by the Labor-led ‘Education Revolution’ since 2007, this is a particularly pertinent line of inquiry to take up, with the focus of this article largely concerned with its impact in the Queensland setting.


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How to Cite

Vass, G. (2012). ‘So, What is Wrong with Indigenous Education?’ Perspective, Position and Power Beyond a Deficit Discourse. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 41(2), 85–96. https://doi.org/10.1017/jie.2012.25