Closing the education gap for country kids

BEYOND the classroom: Young people in regional areas were "unlikely to reach their learning potential unless they had access to the range of health and support services available to those living in metropolitan areas".
BEYOND the classroom: Young people in regional areas were "unlikely to reach their learning potential unless they had access to the range of health and support services available to those living in metropolitan areas".

The federal government’s efforts to close the gap between the education outcomes for country and metropolitan students shouldn’t focus only on access to education, a south-west youth employment body says.

South West Local Learning and Employment Network acting chief executive Trevor White was commenting on the federal government’s recent decision to accept all 11 recommendations of the Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education (IRRRRE).

Mr White said young people in regional areas were unlikely to reach their learning potential unless they had access to the range of health and support services available to those living in metropolitan areas. 

“Young people living in regional, rural and remote areas experience health, emotional and social disadvantage across a range of indicators,” Mr White said.

“These include childhood abuse and neglect and teenage pregnancy. These are issues that go beyond the school gate but have a negative impact on a student’s capacity to learn in school.”

“Of significance is that children in rural and regional areas have more problems as they enter school, compared to those living in metropolitan areas, and they continue to stay behind.”

Children in rural and regional areas have more problems as they enter school, compared to those living in metropolitan areas.

Trevor White

The Beyond the Bell organisation, which aims to improve the Great South Coast’s low year 12 or equivalent attainment rates, said a collaborative approach involving government, community, business, schools and service providers was needed to address the disparity in education.

Member for Wannon Dan Tehan said the government’s response to the review included the creation of an extra 500 sub-bachelor places at regionally-based higher education institutions and an additional 500 Commonwealth supported bachelor places for students at the eight Regional Study Hubs it plans to establish across Australia.

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