Closing the rural and urban education gap

The education divide between rural and urban students will be a key priority of the new Standing Council on School Education and Early childhood.

The NSW Minister for Education, Adrian Piccoli, said the agreement between the states, territories and Commonwealth – brokered by NSW – was an important first step towards addressing the rural/urban gap in education.

"Our national tests show us that in Year 3 reading, one in 20 city students are below the minimum standard – compared to one in seven remote students, and almost every second very remote student," he said.

"Action to close the rural/urban divide must be a priority for all Australian governments. Australia will not be able to compete internationally if we leave our rural students behind."

Mr Piccoli said the agreement would ensure the needs of rural and regional Australia are considered as a strategic priority in the national education agenda. Some considerations could include:

  • reviews of school funding will need to consider the costs of schooling outside of the cities
     
  • initiatives to boost teacher quality will need to address the specific needs of those schools in more remote areas that struggle to attract and retain staff
     
  • in meeting the 90 per cent attainment target of Year 12 or equivalent, governments will need to consider more options to enable rural students to complete their studies.

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