CEP Celebrates 40 Years

A couple of weeks ago the Country Education Partnership celebrated its 40th year of supporting rural and remote communities with educators and rural community members travelling from all over the state to attend this celebration.

People who were involved in the establishment of the organisation, along with many who are currently involved in rural and remote education came together to reminisce, reflect and consider the impact that CEP has had on the learning for children, young people and their communities over this time.

One of the highlights of the evening was the entertainment provided by the Foster Secondary College bands – a sensational mix of entertainment and celebration of student learning. And just as an aside, the music program is one of the highly successful initiatives of CEP which sees the cluster of schools within the South Gippsland come together and provide a high quality music program for students throughout the area.

Foster Secondary College Performance

Throughout the evening, it was great to hear people reflect on the impact that CEP has had on education provision throughout rural and remote communities, many of which are still operating today:

  • Waterwatch and Saltwatch
  • Mobile programs in hard to staff curriculum areas – Art, Library, etc
  • clusters providing learning opportunities
  • Post compulsory provision supported through a blended learning approaches
  • Energy Breatkthrough
  • Rural and Remote specific professional development.

Dr Don Edgar (the inaugural chair of Country Education Project) provided an inspiring input into the celebrations where he reflected on the initial concept of CEP, and encouraged the organisation to continue with the key principles it was established under including:

  • whole of community engagement
  • the concept of clusters of education organisations working together to provide learning for their community
  • sharing of resources and expertise.

He highlighted that while many of these communities are faced with challenges in providing the education these communities would like to have access to, through a whole of community approach it is amazing what can be achieved. He recalled one community where the local mechanic built a partnership with the local cluster of schools to provide a industry quality learning environment for those students interested in motor mechanics, and offered is time to provide expertise and knowledge to the program.

He also reminded people that many rural and remote schools are amongst some of the best performing schools within the state – something CEP and rural education communities should be very proud of.

Initiated as a cross sectoral initiative under the Country Areas Program by the Commonwealth Government in 1977, it continues to support rural and remote communities in providing a high quality education within their community.