Spotlight on education gap

April 20, 2018

La Trobe University's Shepparton campus head Sue Nalder.

La Trobe University’s Shepparton campus head Sue Nalder says a recent Federal Government review into regional, rural and remote education provides a great opportunity.

Last week, the final report of an independent review, led by Emeritus Professer Dr John Halsey, was released.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the review highlighted the need to bridge the divide between education outcomes in the bush and the city.

‘‘Unfortunately, what we see is that country kids aren’t always getting the same opportunities as students in our cities,’’ he said.

‘‘Thriving regional and rural communities are key to Australia’s success and they need a high-performing education system.’’

Ms Nalder said the review showed there was a huge opportunity to improve educational outcomes for students in regional areas.

‘‘The percentage of students going onto higher education is low in regional areas when compared with cities,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s important to increase economic activity in the regions, decentralisation is paramount.’’

Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham said Dr Halsey’s report identified gaps and room for improvement across a variety of areas of Australia’s education system.

‘‘Most importantly, this report highlights there is no silver bullet,’’ he said.

‘‘(It) is going to take the concerted efforts of many, including states and territories and everyone from families to teachers and school leaders, to universities and student accommodation managers to preschool educators.’’

Ms Nalder called on Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum and Mr McCormack to do more to promote higher education in regional areas.

‘‘Hopefully they’re actively promoting it, hopefully they’re supporting it and making moves in this area,’’ she said.

‘‘In Shepparton, we’ve had a huge increase in student numbers, but we’re bursting at the seam in our small buildings.’’

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