Now this is a good thing

By skepticlawyer

Well, I think it is, anyway:

Oxford University is hoping to welcome its first Aboriginal Australian students next year, it has been announced.

From next month, applications for two scholarship places are being accepted.

The university said although it had a significant number of students from Australia, an indigenous Australian had never studied there.

The scholarships will pay for tuition fees, air fares and living expenses over a three-year period.

The scheme has been set up by the Charlie Perkins Trust for Children and Students and is funded by the British and Australian governments and mining firm Rio Tinto.

‘Unattainable dream’

Sue Cunningham, director of development at Oxford University, said: “We are delighted that a year after we announced the Perkins’ scholarships, we now have the funding to officially launch them.”

I didn’t realise that there has never been an Australian Aborigine study at Oxford. Significantly, the scholars will have to meet Oxford’s own entry requirements as well as their scholarship requirements (I’ve gone through this dual process myself; it’s challenging to say the least), which means that the people who take up these awards will be very talented individuals indeed. 

I’ve long been impressed by the likes of Noel Pearson, who is one of the most consistently interesting intellectuals in Australia. I have no doubt there are more out there like him. This is just the right way to find them.

More on the Perkins Trust is available here.


  1. Jayjee
    Posted November 2, 2009 at 12:50 pm | Permalink


    Your comments indicate you are decades behind on the trend realities of Aboriginal participation in higher education, especially universities.

    As somebody who is six feet under in applications for admissions and scholarships to several courses at several Australian universities, I can assure you that the venom still being spat by the Luvvies over whitey’s neglect of his Koori ‘Other’ belongs in a past generation; at least when it comes to education.

    Every single university in this country and every single faculty from Melbourne and Sydney’s Medicine, Law, and Commerce Faculties to even the most déclassé Dawkins “university” provide very generous scholarships, accommodation allowances, mentoring, alternative admission criteria to Aboriginal (or, as Nick Griffin is proving in the UK, that dangerous word “indigenous”) applicants. I am just focusing on the universities themselves, let alone government programs.

    For example, in 2008, 8 ATSI students were admitted to the UNSW 6-year undergrad Medicine degree, the MBBS – one of the few remaining undergrad Medical degrees left in Australia, and the only one in NSW; most now follow the US model of 4 year graduate degrees. Now, back in the day, the UAI (in current day inflated values) required for admission to Medicine would have been about 99.5. I am

    Similarly, at the high school level, of the top 50 private schools in the country, at least 40 have full scholarship programs focused on Aboriginal kids, particularly boarding schools, with GPS Catholic St. Josephs (Joeys) in Sydney leading the way. Joey’s now offers about 10 new full boarding scholarships – valued at $30,000 – each year to Aboriginal kids. In total, there are currently 50 enrolled from Year 7 to Year 12, 10 of whom are in Year 12 sitting their HSC. In fact, correct me if I am wrong, but Year 12 completion rates among Joeys’ Aboriginal boys are above the state average. A sister program also operates at the snooty Rose Bay Convent.

    Noel Pearson himself is a beneficiary of a similar scheme. In fact, a great many of the prominent Aborigines in Australian public life, sports, the arts, academia, the law, business were beneficiaries of private school/elite university scholarship schemes that gave those kids breathing space away from their horrific homelands. It is definitely non-PC to harp on this little fact.

    As an unabashed integrationist I applaud these initiatives from the rooftops, particularly the resounding success in diverting Aboriginal kids born in Hell’s desert rubbish tips into elite university Law, Medicine, and Business faculties. In 2010, 10,000 Aboriginals will enrol in Australian university; a long cry from Charlie Perkins’ day!

    But where is the rejoicing, the celebration, the pride as a nation? I’ll tell you where; .muffled under the roar of jumbo jets, whose Business Class seats are spotted by the Aboriginal Industry aristocracy on its way to another stint at the Waldorf Astoria or the shores of Lake Geneva to pow-wow with Derrida-quoting Luvvies about “cultural rights”!

    One of the problems I am seeing in the otherwise really heartening rapid rise in Aboriginal uni undergrads is their overwhelming sequestration in “Indigenous Studies” degrees. The tragedy of these degrees is that are oblivious to the re-colonisation they are subjecting themselves to by concentrating on the quintessentially modern western European ideology of “postcolonial studies”. Go to the Indigenous Studies area in your local university bookshop, and check out the required texts, course names and their accompanying study guides:

    A critical mass is building, which is thankfully reinforcing another great unsaid reality about Aboriginal community tawdriness and dissolution. The further away that monoracial Aboriginal communities are far multicultural/racial Australian mainstream, the worse their plight.

  2. John
    Posted November 2, 2009 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    The further away that monoracial Aboriginal communities are far multicultural/racial Australian mainstream, the worse their plight.

    Wasn’t it always obvious that if a group of people chose to live way out there then their communities would have a high risk of stagnation, poor resource availability, and adequate service access? Did anyone bother to ask the aboriginal children where they wanted to live?

    Was it the aboriginals who wanted to preserve their lifestyle and culture or was that more driven by certain ideological elements within the humanities? The issue of culture and identity has always fascinated me because I have no relationship to the idea. I just don’t perceive myself in terms of culture or group identity. So I have always found that imperative so strange. Perhaps I’m strange, I don’t know.

    So I am disappointed to note your reference to the increasing emphasis on Indigenous Studies. Shouldn’t the trend be in exactly the opposite direction, that as aborigines en masse realise they can go ono tertiary levels more and more would choose to focus on vocations that proffer a life of doing something and creating an individual identity?

  3. Posted November 3, 2009 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Dave, my blog is currently offline. Thanks but no thanks on the invite.

    I’m hoping comments #51 and #53 aren’t JG sockpuppeting.

  4. Daffy Shower
    Posted November 3, 2009 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    re [email protected]
    Sockpuppetry? Not if it’s a transparent Sue Donim.

    But seriously, I’m a big integrationalist. Those with a continuous traditional lifestyle for generations, including “remote” living, should be able to choose to continue the family tradition, as long as it is an /informed choice/. Children from remote communities (whether physically or religiously isolated – Oz aboriginal or ultraorthodox urban jewish sect is immaterial) should be educated well enough to move successfully into modern mainstream cultures or indeed create their own blend.

    There is an extreme hypothetical case for this: the great apes that we know are capable of communicating with sign language – is NOT teaching “traditional lifestyle” chimps sign language akin to refusing to teach English to children from traditional remote indigenous communities? (Not that I’m suggesting that we should create hybrid anthropoids in the same way I’m hoping for khaki humanity, blending all the major cultures not just the skin color. Not am I suggesting we offer Oxford places to chimps, but perhaps we might offer the equivalent of primary years 1 and 2 in a culturally sensitive way).

    Thought experiments are always useful for highligting principles and exposing inconsistencies, and the view of not-quite-human chimpanzees reflects a not-uncommon view only a few centuries ago, a view that “primitive” tribes were not-quite-human, perhaps even to be counted as fauna.

    The overlap of cognitive abilities (and genes even – humans with major chromosomal anomalies could be considered to have a greater genetic difference from the average human than a chimp has) of the anthropoid apes, and the assertions about genetic “superiority” and the provision of opportunity, hints that many of the left may be suffering more cognitive dissonance than the more insensitive conservatives.

  5. Posted November 3, 2009 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    JG was clear about who he is on the Nemo Dat thread. Mel. He’s still in moderation on this blog but we will let interesting and non-bitchy comments through.

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