The Coalition Government has launched a comprehensive review to boost outcomes for regional, rural and remote students not just at school, but also as they go on to further study, training and employment.
Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said the review would hear stories and feedback about regional and rural education from across the country and he called for Far North Queensland educators, students, families, employers and the local community to have their say.
“The Government is committed to giving Australians the opportunities they need to succeed, regardless of where they live or what their circumstances may be,” Mr Entsch said.
“I’ve heard the success stories, the concerns and suggestions for regional education from parents doing the school drop off around Cairns, from the businesses throughout the Cape looking for the right people to hire, and the young people who’ve been off to one of the capital cities to study and have returned home.
“It would be great to see more representatives from our local education sector, families, employer groups and non-profits taking part in this review process, because the input and suggestions help to shape the future of education in regional and rural Australia.
“We’re working hard to ensure this review delivers on our commitment to tackle the unique challenges people throughout the Far North face. The focus of which is to provide solutions that better support students and their transition into pathways beyond school.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Nationals Barnaby Joyce said the review would be critical in addressing the key barriers and challenges that impact on the educational outcomes of regional, rural and remote students.
“The Coalition Government’s independent comprehensive review into equity of education access for rural and regional students will seek fresh ideas and fresh thinking to bridge the divide,” Minister Joyce said.
“There’s a clear disparity between education in the bush and the city – this seeks to address the gap of achievement, aspiration and access to higher education faced by regional students.
“That’s why we are going out to the edges, to hear from our regional communities in order to find solutions to build the skills of regional Australians to allow our youth better jobs and better opportunities no matter where they live.”
Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said the independent review into regional, rural and remote education would be led by Emeritus Professor John Halsey of Flinders University.
Minister Birmingham said regional education needed to be looked at as a “complete puzzle” and not as separate school, higher education and training sectors.
“This review will look at education from school entry to job success and how we can improve results for rural and regional people,” Minister Birmingham said.
“Approximately one third of regional and remote students do not complete Year 12 or an equivalent unit of study and that number rises to almost two thirds of very remote students.
“We must drive and better set policy to encourage ambition among our country students. Regional and remote students made up just 18.8 per cent of domestic undergraduate students at universities, compared to making up 26.4 per cent of the population in 2016.”
Minister Birmingham said Professor Halsey commenced his career as a teacher and was a principal of two schools in South Australia and his experience spans across numerous positions outside of the classroom on advisory boards and in educational leadership roles.
“His extensive knowledge and experience in rural and remote education and passion for the sustainability of rural schools and communities make him ideally suited to lead this review.”
The review will be conducted in consultation with key stakeholders and will benefit country people and country communities.
Submissions will be invited from April 2017; for more information on how to be involved please visit: https://www.education.gov.au/independent-review-regional-rural-and-remote-education