Computer and Aboriginal Community


The Computer Education and Aboriginal Community in Australia

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James Peterson

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This paper supports a theory that explains the level of computer education of the Aboriginal community of the Australia. In the first section a brief introduction about the Aboriginal communities of Australia and their present condition will be discussed. Then in the next section you will see relation of Aboriginal community with internet. This section will tell about the internet knowledge of Aboriginal community. Then in next section you will see use of computers in the Aboriginal community. Then we will move on the factors which are affecting the adaptation of computer and internet in Aboriginal communities. There is a Digital divide in the Australia and it is also present in the indigenous and non- indigenous communities. We will compare indigenous and non- indigenous communities on the basis of this digital device. Then in next section we will see importance of computer education for the indigenous community of Australia. Then finally we will reach on the conclusion of this paper.

The Computer Education and Aboriginal Community in Australia

Aboriginal community of Australia is also known by some other names like indigenous Australians or Torres Strait Islanders. It is approximate 3% of the total population of the Australia and mainly lives in the rural areas of the country.

1. Introduction:

Aboriginal Australians is a term which covers many groups which are known by some other name in their local areas such as Koori, Ngunnawal, Noongar, Yapa, Palawah, Anangu and many more. As compare to non-indigenous and other communities indigenous community is some what backward in many areas, especially in the field of advanced instruments, applications and tools such as computer, internet. Opportunities, which are available to the indigenous community, are less as compare to the opportunities available to non- indigenous community. This disparity is on the basis of education and economic condition and it has created a digital divide in the Australia. The urban areas are economically strong and rural areas are suffering many crises. The main reason behind this disparity is the availability of the low cost technology. People, ho are educated, can use these technology in a gainful and meaningful way. (Pitula & Radhakrishnan, 2007)

2. Aboriginal community and Internet:

The way of understanding of aboriginal people is traditional. Nowadays internet is being used by some of the aboriginals and they are using it for marketing of their art, for giving information to the people about their culture, for communicating with each other, and for learning new things through internet. (Christie, 2004)

Some education policies, which are made for aboriginals, are trying to increase the knowledge of internet within the aboriginal community. They are teaching in the ways, which require knowledge of on internet and new technologies. In some schools it is a criterion that every student should aware a little bit about the internet. (Naidu & Jasen, 2004)

Indigenous people of Australia prefer telephone for communication as compared to internet. Internet is generally used by the Indigenous people in the school, offices, hospitals, libraries, and Government organizations. But this access is also limited and after office timings employees cannot use internet. Indigenous people of Australia do not live in the urban areas and they are isolated from major population areas. They are facing the problem of high costs of essential goods for living. . (Smillie-Adjarkwa, 2005)

3. Computer education and Aboriginal communities:

Nowadays computers and the Internet has become an essential part of each and every field. Many Australians are using computers and the Internet to remain connected with governmental institutions, educational institutions and commercial companies, but it is not the case for indigenous Australians because of their education, geographic location, economic position or culture. The 2006 Census data of Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that use of computers and technologies by the non-indigenous and indigenous is 46% and 31% respectively. (Radoll, 2009)

Number of computer and internet users is increasing day by day in the Australia. Almost 90% of the urban population of Australia is using computer and 70% is using internet in the recent era, but indigenous Australians are still far from the world of computer, internet and ICT (Information and Communication Technology). Many of them are still following their old tradition and culture. There are some factors which are responsible to keep them away from the computer and internet education. We will discuss those factors in the next section of this paper.

4. Factors which affect the adaptation of computer and internet in Aboriginal communities:

There are many factors which are affecting the adaptation of computer and internet within the indigenous or aboriginal community. Financial condition of aboriginal communities is not good and it is a big factor. Alcohol is consumed in excessive amount by the aboriginal communities. They spend their money on alcohol instead on computers or other ICT because according to them alcohol consumption in a huge amount is an Aboriginal tradition. Excessive alcohol consumption takes them towards poverty, poor performance and makes them job less. There is racism in the labor market of Australia, which stops aboriginals from the access of internet or computer. Cost of computer is not too much low for most of them. Face to face communication is more preferred in these communities as compare to online communication. There is a need of a good program for teaching aboriginals about the computer and internet. (Radoll, 2009) Percentage of educated and employed people is very low in this community. When we talk about three fields: education field, employment field, and indigenous field and try to make a Venn diagram to relate these fields; following result takes place-

Figure 1: Intersection of three fields

This figure shows that a little bit population of the indigenous community is employed and educated. That’s why the use of computer and internet among these communities is very small. Proper education and employment opportunities should have been provided to these people. There is no purpose to use the computer and internet by indigenous people. This type of purpose should be there. If most of the people would be educated, then they will definitely use the computer and internet. (Webb, 2002)

All these factors are barrier in the way of growth of indigenous community and prevent intersection of employment field and indigenous field. These barriers should be removed and then we will see the sudden change in the percentage of computer using aboriginals.

5. Digital Divide between indigenous and non- indigenous:

Digital divide can be defined as the gap in the access of internet and use of computers by the individuals. There is a digital divide in Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in the Australia.  We can understand this digital divide between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities with the help of following graph.

Figure2: Digital divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in 2009

This figure shows that access of internet and use of computers by the indigenous people is less as compare to non-indigenous people. This difference has been highlighted by Daly 2009. Income and education level are main factors behind this difference. Now it can be said that there is a significant digital divide between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in the country.  (Australia’s digital divide, 2002)

Now it can be said that computer education is very necessary for the indigenous people of Australia. Reasons of the importance of the computer education for indigenous people will be discussed in next section of this paper.

6. Why computer education is necessary for indigenous community of Australia:

Computer education is very necessary for the growth of the indigenous community. With the help of internet government and business services can be accessed easily. It will improve their health and education level. Internet can play an important role in the marketing of their culture, art and tradition, which could defend and save their culture. They can sell their art and homemade item with the help of internet in the international market, which will definitely improve their financial condition. Computer education will create interest in the current technology and it will help in developing skills. They can come into contact with other person in the community or outside the community. (Christine Smillie-Adjarkwa ©2005)

7. Conclusion:

Now it can be concluded that there is a need of some policies and programs for computer education in the indigenous community. Many programs are being run for fulfilling this purpose but these is a need of forcefully implementing such type of programs. These programs are some what successful but condition is still not very good. There are many factors, which are responsible of less use of internet and computer in the indigenous community. According to Smillie-Adjarkwa there is lack of awareness and affordability in the community about new technology; Languages used by the community and education level of the people are also huge barriers (2005). These barriers should be removed for the growth of the community and community should help government to achieve this target.


Christie, M. (2004). Aboriginal Knowledge on the Internet. Retrieved May 10, 2010 from

Information and Communication Technology. (2002). Australia’s digital divide. Retrieved May 10, 2010 from

Naidu, S & Jasen, C. (2004). Australia: ICT USE IN EDUCATION. National policies, strategies and Programmes. Retrieved May 10, 2010 from

Pitula & Radhakrishnan. (2007). A Conceptual Model of Inclusive Technology for Information Access by the Rural Sector. Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering Concordia University.

Radoll, P. (2009). The Emergence of the Indigenous Field of Practice: Factors affecting Australian Indigenous Household ICT. Australian National University. Publisher: ACM New York

Smillie-Adjarkwa, C. (2005). Is the Internet A Useful Resource For Indigenous Women Living In Remote Communities In Canada, Australia and New Zealand To Access Health Resources? Retrieved May 10, 2010 from

Webb, P. (2002). Factors which influence the successful implementation of digital technology in Aboriginal Community. Retrieved May 10, 2010 from


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