Submitting its recommendations to the highly anticipated Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education (IRRRRE), the Country Education Foundation of Australia (CEF) is confident it has some of the answers to creating an equal playing field for country kids and securing better outcomes for rural and regional Australia.
Led by Emeritus Professor John Halsey, the review process seeks new ideas and approaches from community stakeholders. Each stakeholder was asked how they would recommend improving the educational outcomes of young people in country Australia.
In announcing the review, the Education Minister Simon Birmingham stated that “we must drive and better set policy to encourage ambition among our country students”.
With its 24 years of experience and knowledge in this space, CEF welcomed the opportunity to contribute its voice to the development of new policy.
Recommendations in CEF’s submission focus on the transition of country school-leavers into further education, supporting their study, training and work aspirations.
“Our purpose at CEF is to help unlock all opportunities for country kids to learn, develop and contribute. Having our say as part of this review is the perfect way to advocate for a collaborative approach to overcoming the inequity in education that confronts rural and regional Australia,” CEF CEO Wendy Cohen says.
“We welcome this review and are gratified that the Minister is committed to working with us to find solutions to a challenge which can mean that, through no fault of their own, country students are behind the eight ball even before they embark on higher education or training.”
“Our recommendations include continued commitment to and expansion of the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP), implementation of frameworks and initiatives that support mentor and peer support programs, and policies and structures which encourage a collaborative, cross-sector approach to closing the participation gap.”
“Our submission looks at ways of making it easier, more affordable and more fulfilling for a student in rural and regional Australia to embark on post school study or training.”
CEF’s IRRRRE submission was drafted by born and raised Bathurst boy Daniel McKay. Daniel is a recent graduate and understands the toll distance can take on undertaking further education opportunities.
CEF looks forward to contributing to the further discussion and outcomes that emerge from this review.