Bold plan for rural education

14 NOVEMBER 2013

CSU Executive Dean of Education, Professor Toni Downes has praised a plan to improve the learning opportunities for school children in rural and remote NSW.

Charles Sturt University’s (CSU) Executive Dean of Education, Professor Toni Downes has praised a plan to improve the learning opportunities for school children in rural and remote NSW.
 
The NSW Government’s Rural and Remote Education Blueprint for Action has earmarked $80 million in spending over four years.
 
Professor Toni Downes “Overall it is a well-conceived and bold plan to tackle the long-term gap in educational and social outcomes of children living in rural and remote communities,” Professor Downes said.
 
She said the plan focuses on supporting and rewarding both teachers and school leaders in remote areas.
 
”Along with incentives encouraging the best and brightest to work in western NSW, it is good to see resources allocated to support the teachers that are already there, through online professional development,” Professor Downes said.
 
“It is important that the scholarships and internships are geared towards students who will be prepared to spend a significant part of the career in rural and remote NSW.”
 
Professor Downes is pleased that improving access to early childhood education has been identified in the Blueprint, with $4 million allocated over four years.
 
“The government has thought deeply about early childhood education and putting resources into that area is the right place to start,” she said. “Every dollar invested in the early years is amply repaid throughout the school years.”
 
“Using online technology along-side mobile pre school services is a significant step towards universal access to quality early childhood education regardless of distance from cities and towns.”
 
Professor Downes said the Blueprint puts emphasis on the transition of children from pre school to school and then from primary to secondary education.
 
She said this is something CSU’s Faculty of Education is already incorporating into its new teacher education programs.
 
“Charles Sturt University’s new degrees are ideally placed to graduate beginning teachers who bring the requisite capabilities for this new environment.
 
”The Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Primary) provides a solid grounding in early literacy and numeracy along with transition to school, while the Bachelor of Education (K-12) has a focus on deeper subject matter knowledge and covers the transition to high school.”
 

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