New hope for remote and rural education

April 17, 2018

Review welcomed: new report highlights needs of regional, rural and remote education in Australia.

A Murdoch education researcher has welcomed the recent release of a major review of educational needs in regional, rural and remote areas.

The Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote (RRR)  Education was commissioned in 2017 and led by Emeritus Professor John Halsey of Flinders University.

Dr Susan Ledger, Associate Dean at Murdoch University in the School of Education and Vice President of the Society for the Provision of Education in Rural Australia was pleased to see rural education in the public forum and hopes it results in action rather than more reports.

“With Australia being one of the most urbanised countries in the world with 66 per cent of people living in capital cities and over 80 per cent of the population living within 50km of the coast, it is no wonder issues related to RRR education are often ignored and not represented in policy decisions or future planning,” Dr Ledger said.

“Although the issues are not new and innovative practices not unique, RRR education is finally being discussed seriously at a national level and hopefully may result in policy changes that benefit rather than hinder growth in these areas.”

Dr Ledger commended the call for a rural commissioner and national RRR education, training and research centre to build on the quality research and programs currently being undertaken within Australia by great researchers, organisations and philanthropists.

“A spokesperson and centre that brings the collective energies of a range of passionate groups involved in RRR has the capacity to generate creative possibilities and significant change,” she said.

“RRR communities, culture and conditions were at times represented as dichotomies possibly detrimental to the discussion: ‘in and out’, ‘stay or leave’, ‘ATAR or Vet’, ‘Uni or Trade’, ‘locals and incomers’.

“It would be better to focus on the context and culture first whilst students/teachers/leaders are going through the system.

“It is important to strengthen and identify the brand of the town or school by involving ‘whole of community’ policy decisions. Pride, confidence and empowerment of locals in their community and school is important and may help attract and retain great leaders and teachers.”

The full report can be accessed here.

Dr Ledger has a diverse background involving lived experiences in rural and remote communities within Australia and overseas. Her research explores how international and remote schooling and fields of study complement and compete with each and the importance of global competencies within these contexts.

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Media contact: Pepita Smyth
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Categories: General, Teaching and Learning, Domestic students, School of Education, School of Education Research
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Comments (One response)

ANDREW TAGGART April 24, 2018

Well done Sue, great to read. Now to build the recruitment of more RRR students to Murdoch.

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