First Nations preschool numbers increase

Australian indigenous children. | Newsreel
More First Nations children are attending all levels of school in Australia. | Photo: Kerrie Kerr (iStock)

The number of First Nations children attending pre-school has increased by 10 percent in two decades.

The latest data for the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that in 2021, almost half (48.9 percent) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 3 to 5 years attended preschool, up from 31.4 percent in 2001.

The figure is still well below the national preschool attendance rate, which is around 90 percent.

Today’s ABS release of Education Statistics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples showed that the proportion of First Nations children aged 3 years attending preschool, more than doubled between 2001 (19.1 percent) and 2021 (46.5 percent).

The data also showed almost 40 percent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples aged 20 years and over had Year 12 as their highest year of school completed, with 42.6 percent of non-school students at university and other higher education institutions.

The level of children at primary school has improved only slightly between 2001 and 2021, increasing from 60.2 percent to 61.4 percent, while there was a more positive increase in high school attendance, with rates increasing from 45.4 percent to 60. 3 percent.

See the full set of data.