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Scoping Survey - Rural and Remote Education Inquiry (1999)

Rights Rights and Freedoms

Scoping Survey

Rural and Remote Education Inquiry

Report on the scoping survey conducted for the Inquiry by the Youth Research Centre, Melbourne University (1999)

3,128 people responded to the survey by completing questionnaires individually, in groups, on the website or over the phone during a 2-day Phone In in August 1999. More than half (55%) of the respondents were rural and remote students.

Highlights of the findings include

Income support

The majority of families receiving AIC reported the full education cost is not covered; gaps reported range from $2,200 to $15,000 per child per year.

Travel times

Between 53% (WA) and 71% (Victoria) of students responding reported spending under 30 minutes travelling to and from school each day; in WA 13% of students responding reported spending over 1 hour travelling daily.

Distance education

  • Substantial differences emerged among parents depending on State/ Territory with respect to their satisfaction with the Distance Education curriculum: NSW - 3% dissatisfied; WA - 13% dissatisfied; SA - 31% dissatisfied.
  • Advantages of Distance Education and small rural schools include one-on-one teaching and the capacity of teachers to respond to students' individual needs.
  • Few if any special needs teachers are working in Distance Education to assist students with disabilities.

Students' aspirations

In WA (34%) and Tasmania (35%) only about one-third of students responding hoped to go on to University compared with almost one-half in NSW (48%).

Subject choice and resources

  • Between 20% (Victoria) and 38% (SA) of students reported they could not study the subject(s) of their choice at school.
  • Between 87% (Qld and SA) and 100% (WA and Tasmania) of students responding reported they could access a computer at school; fewer - but still the majority - had internet access at school (from 72% in Qld to 100% in Tasmania).

Indigenous education

In remote WA Aboriginal communities literacy is still being delivered as though English is the children's first language.

Teachers' concerns

Between 23% (NT) and 63% (NSW) of teachers in small rural schools were concerned about their lack of access to professional development.

The report also sets out suggested strategies for addressing the concerns raised (Section 5) and 6 case studies (Section 6).

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