Rural and regional schools feel the pinch

7 NOVEMBER 2001

The impact of economic pressures in rural and regional Australia is increasing strains on our schools, according to Professor Bob Meyenn, Dean of CSU's Faculty of Education.

The impact of economic pressures in rural and regional Australia is increasing strains on our schools, according to Professor Bob Meyenn, Dean of the Faculty of Education at Charles Sturt University.

Speaking at the annual Society for the Provision of Education in Rural Australia (SPERA) conference in Wagga Wagga today, Wednesday 11 July, Professor Meyenn spoke to educators from across Australia, the United States, New Zealand and the Cocos and Keeling Islands about the future of rural and regional schools.

“Teachers are the ‘frontline troops’, but with the current economic climate, it is very real that we could soon be facing a staffing crisis,” he said.

“There is already a shortage of casual teachers in rural and regional Australia which is the first sign that teacher shortages are on the way.

“The highest quality education is fundamental to our democracy and we are expecting more and more of our teachers to maintain this quality.”

Professor Meyenn said the current government has significantly increased funding to Australia’s wealthiest schools and, he added, “not on the basis to improve education”.

“We should insist our governments allocate funding on the basis of educational needs, not on perceived political outcomes - there’s a gross unfairness in the allocation of educational dollars,” he said.

Professor Meyenn said universities have also suffered, with only 44 per cent of funding coming from the Federal Government, pushing the tertiary institutions to become more business orientated.

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Wagga Wagga Charles Sturt University