Coalition launches five-year Regional Education Plan

Wednesday 29 October 2014

The Napthine Government today unveiled a five-year strategy to improve educational outcomes in rural and regional Victoria – across the early childhood, schools, and higher education and skills sectors.

Minister for Education Martin Dixon said the new strategy aims to improve learning and development for all students, which has a direct impact on the social and economic success of rural and regional Victorians.

“The research shows that in some regional areas, smaller and more remote populations can present challenges for students and educators,” Mr Dixon said.

“The Napthine Government’s five-year strategy, together with record investments of $1.2 billion in vocation training, and $9.2 billion for school education, will support rural and regional learners to gain the right skills and knowledge to succeed in further education and work.”

Each year the Napthine Government provides rural and regional communities with $1.65 billion for government schools, $167 million to non-government schools, a further $34 million for kindergarten programs, more than $300 million in subsidies for vocational training regional delivery and approximately $27 million a year to assist students travelling to and from schools in rural and regional areas.

Aspiring Learners, Thriving Communities commits to supporting local education by:

 Working with educators and communities to improve engagement, strengthen rural and regional learning aspirations, and increase exposure to a variety of pathways;

 Testing and implementing effective recruitment and retention practices for teachers and education leaders in rural areas;

 Improving access to customised professional development through regional and virtual delivery of Bastow Institute of Teaching courses; and

 Supporting whole-of-community responses to changing training needs of industry

Minister for Higher Education and Skills Nick Wakeling said the Napthine Government’s $20 million Regional Partnerships Facilitation Fund is already supporting vocational training institutes and universities to develop new opportunities in regional areas.

“We want to build on the strengths of our rural and regional communities, such as the high levels of social connection and community participation,” Mr Wakeling said.

“We are supporting increased collaboration between vocational training institutes and universities, such as the Deakin University/The Gordon partnership to provide seamless pathways from vocational training to university studies, helping to make higher education more affordable and accessible to regional Victorians.”

Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development Wendy Lovell said that six of the eight Linking Learning hubs selected in May 2014 are in regional Victoria.

“Linking Learning is a three-year $2.3 million project to boost learning for children from birth to 12 years of age through coordinated and cost-effective local partnerships between primary schools, children’s services, local councils and not-for-profit organisations,” Ms Lovell said.

“The Napthine Government is also supporting more families in regional areas to access playgroups through the Victorian Government’s $1.2 million Rural Playgroup Initiative.”

The Napthine Government is building a better education system for students of all ages, delivering record funding, targeted programs and resources to ensure that Victorians gain the right skills and knowledge to succeed in further education and work.

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