Sup­port boost for re­gional ed­u­ca­tion

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Our Wimmera -

Im­prov­ing re­gional ed­u­ca­tional stan­dards and ad­dress­ing teacher sup­ply is­sues is at the fore­front of a mil­lion-dol­lar govern­ment in­jec­tion into coun­try Vic­to­rian schools and pro­grams.

The State Govern­ment last month an­nounced an $82.8-mil­lion pack­age ded­i­cated to boost­ing stu­dent and teach­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in ru­ral and re­gional Vic­to­ria.

La­bor Mem­ber for Western Vic­to­ria Jaala Pul­ford said a re­cent Ex­pert Ad­vi­sory Panel into Ru­ral and Re­gional schools had iden­ti­fied dis­par­ity be­tween coun­try stu­dents and their met­ro­pol­i­tan coun­ter­parts.

She said the govern­ment’s pack­age was a ‘first step’ in ad­dress­ing the panel’s find­ings.

“Every stu­dent, no mat­ter where they live, de­serves to have ac­cess to a great school and a great ed­u­ca­tion,” she said.

“We are get­ting on with the job of bridg­ing the di­vide to en­sure coun­try kids have the same op­por­tu­ni­ties as city kids.”

Ms Pul­ford said the fund­ing pack­age in­cluded $45.2-mil­lion to ad­dress teacher sup­ply by at­tract­ing teach­ers and school lead­ers to re­gional and ru­ral schools and sup­port­ing them to stay.

She said this would in­clude $12.5-mil­lion to­wards of­fer­ing ‘the best teach­ers’ up to $50,000 to re­lo­cate to coun­try ar­eas to fill hard-to-staff po­si­tions.

The re­main­ing por­tion of the pack­age, more than $37-mil­lion, will be used to im­prove ed­u­ca­tional out­comes for re­gional and ru­ral stu­dents.

Ms Pul­ford said it in­cluded $13.2-mil­lion to en­able stu­dents to at­tend Vic­to­ria Cer­tifi­cate of Ed­u­ca­tion re­vi­sion lec­tures in Mel­bourne, $5.1-mil­lion to sup­port re­gional schools to work in clus­ters and strengthen cur­ricu­lum de­liv­ery, and $3.7-mil­lion to­wards out­reach and vir­tual pro­grams such as the John Monash Science School Re­gional Science Ex­change Pro­gram.

She said the Govern­ment would also in­vest $8.9-mil­lion in a ‘STEM Cat­a­lysts’ pro­gram to pro­vide teach­ers in re­gional and ru­ral ar­eas fur­ther train­ing in math­e­mat­ics and science, $59.9-mil­lion to dou­ble in­ter­net speeds at state schools across Vic­to­ria and $22.1-mil­lion for the Af­ford­able School Uni­forms Pro­gram.

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