Rural and Remote Education: Time to Step Up
Victoria’s leading voice for country education has implored state and federal governments to urgently adopt specific measures to improve educational outcomes for rural and remote students.
The Country Education Partnership (CEP) said the release of the National Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education clearly identified the extent of disparity for country students.
CEP Chief Executive Phil Brown said the report’s admission that country pupils had “lagged behind urban students for decades” was indicative of the depth of work required to deliver fair and equal learning, nationally.
“We know that rural and remote communities in Australia face significant challenges in ensuring that their children and young people gain access to the education they deserve, and this report spells it out in bold font,” Mr Brown said.
“The question now is how we respond and who is actually going to step up the pace and create genuine change?”
As an independent authority on rural and remote education, CEP has begun work on its own research paper, outlining legitimate programs and schemes that can be implemented to improve learning provision and parity in country areas.
“In particular, we know a targeted effort is needed in areas such as education provision, recruitment and retention of quality teachers, and ways to lift aspirations among our young rural people,” Mr Brown said.
“Access to a broad curriculum is another area of major concern – but it’s also one which we believe can be addressed through relatively basic schemes, such as resource clustering between schools.”
The clustering concept, which involves sharing resources like teachers, technology and even curriculum, is used successfully in several rural Victorian learning communities, such as Nathalia in the Goulburn Valley, and the Pyrenees Cluster, which comprises seven schools from Ampitheatre, Elmhurst, Landsborough, Moonambel, Natte Yallock, Navarre and Trawalla.