By the numbers - indigenous communities

5th July 2013 at 01:00

Indigenous communities, such as the Aborigines of Australia, have some of the world's worst educational outcomes.

A United Nations report has described the education gap between the indigenous and general populations as "critical".

In most countries, school enrolment is low among indigenous children. They have low literacy rates and high dropout rates, so they lag behind other groups in terms of academic achievement.

Next year, the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples will be held at a session of the United Nations General Assembly. Ahead of the conference, 600 indigenous community leaders from seven regions last month produced a document calling for an end to discrimination.

The document (available at recommends that states enable indigenous communities to exercise their right to education, and says that their education must reflect their values, culture and language.

370m indigenous people live in 90 countries. Indigenous people account for 15% of the world's poor and for one-third of the 900m people living in extreme poverty.

Source: United Nations (bit.lyIndigenousRights)

In Guatemala, more than 50% of indigenous young people aged 15-19 have not completed primary education, compared with about one-third of their non-indigenous peers. In Peru, non-indigenous children receive 2.3 years more education than their indigenous classmates. In Bolivia, the gap is nearly 4 years

Source: United Nations (bit.lyIndigenousSouthAmerica)

In Canada, more than 35% of First Nation students living on reserves completed high school in 2010-11, less than half the completion rate of other Canadian students. Less than half of First Nation young people graduate from high school, compared with nearly 80% of other Canadian students.

Source: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (bit.lyFirstNationStudents).

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