Local models of innovation in education in Indi, including the program offered to Year 9 students at Benalla P-12 College, could break down barriers to higher education faced by rural, regional and remote students.
This was the message for the Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham, who visited Wodonga last week at the invitation of Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan.
‘‘Rural and regional education needs to be at the centre of higher education reform, so schools like Benalla P-12 College can continue to engage students with higher education,’’ Ms McGowan said.
‘‘The college has developed strong relationships with local organisations, such as the Tomorrow Today Foundation to address the challenges some of Benalla’s students face in remaining in higher education.
‘‘Through this partnership, students in the Hands-On Learning program recently built furniture for the new playground in the Botanical Gardens.
‘‘The college also offers an intensive careers program to all Year 9 students.
‘‘The future of Australia relies on thriving rural, regional and remote communities, and education is the foundation of their success.
‘‘Benalla P-12 College is just one example of the education innovation that exists across Indi from the cradle to adulthood.
‘‘I’m encouraged by the minister’s commitment to listen to what the people who run and use programs tailored to local needs and strengths have to say.
‘‘This is the Indi way and the resulting models could have benefits for rural, regional and remote students nationally.
‘‘I want to work with the government to put rural and regional Australia at the centre of education policy.
‘‘When the policies are in place to help develop high quality education and research opportunities in rural and regional Australia, all of Australia will benefit.’’