Groups take action on poor education levels

ACTION groups have been formed across the south-west to tackle the region’s below average education outcomes.

Their formation follows a major forum in Warrnambool last week that heard the year 12 or equivalent attainment rate in the Great South Coast in 2011 was 57 per cent, 17.4 per cent lower than the state average. 

The action groups have been formed in each of the five local government areas that comprise the Great South Coast Group.

Great South Coast chairman Chris O’Connor said the groups’ formation was the first major step towards changing the approach to educating the region’s youth. 

“Our research shows us that we will need to affect significant and generational change in the long term if we’re going to have any hope of boosting year 12 or equivalent attainment rates,” Cr O’Connor said.

“Our region’s low education outcomes have huge ramifications for us as a region — for the health and well-being of our people and for our ability to meet our workforce demands.

“We are very firm in our belief that this is not just an issue for our schools.

“It’s the responsibility of every single one of us, whether we are a parent, a teacher, a government official, a welfare worker, a police officer or any other person living and working in the Great South Coast,” Cr O’Connor said. While the individual action groups would work within their communities to decide the best course of action, they would all consider the young people in the context of the life spectrum — from conception through to 19 years of age and align efforts across the Great South Coast region, Cr O’Connor said.

“There are many points along this continuum where our young people are falling through the gaps,” he said.

The action groups will review recent research into young people’s education in the various Great South Coast areas and begin mapping out a plan of action.

“This project marks the first time we have taken a region-wide approach to understanding year 12 or equivalent attainment in the context of that full continuum,” Cr O’Connor said.

He said all action groups planned to meet again within a month to begin planning their next steps.

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