Abstract: A recent report into the impacts of drought on young people's access to education in rural and remote Australia has prompted an urgent call for a review of financial support to overcome the tyranny of distance at all levels of education. Research conducted by Charles Sturt University (CSU) academics Professor Margaret Alston and Dr Jenny Kent concluded drought has had significant impacts on access to all levels of schooling from primary to secondary through to tertiary education. The report was funded by the Federal Government and the Rural Education Program of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal. Researchers conducted in-depth investigations in 2005 with students, their families, teachers as well as business, community and government representatives in seven rural and remote sites at Balranald, Cootamundra and Hay in NSW, Blackall and Longreach in Queensland and Cohuna and Kerang in Victoria. The research identified a number of key findings to ensure equality in educational access for young people in rural and urban Australia: increase Assisted Isolated Children (AIC) allowances to $8,000 for students at primary through to tertiary level to help families overcome the financial burden of education; and students who must leave home for tertiary education should automatically be eligible for the Youth Allowance Address. There are significant pressures on mothers in remote areas to deliver quality education through home tutoring at the same time as they work on and off farms. The research found that boys are more likely to leave school early and that the limited availability of TAFE in the communities highlights an enhanced role for vocational training in schools. Five required key actions are described.
Notes: ISBN 1 864671750
Margaret Alston, Jenny Kent, 2006, The impact of drought on secondary education access in Australia’s rural and remote areas: a report to DEST and the Rural Education Program of FRRR, Report, viewed 17 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=3195.