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Bank calls for regional education equity at scholarship launch

29 March 2017 |Opinion
Three students sitting at table looking at iPad.

Bank calls for regional education equity at scholarship launch

29 March 2017 |Opinion

A new index is further exposing the education gap between people living in regional and metropolitan areas, and shows young rural people are among the most disadvantaged.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank has partnered with the Regional Australia Institute to release the new research, which enables regional and rural people to assess their educational outcomes according to where they live.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Chairman, Robert Johanson, urged more must be done to achieve education equity, as he announced more than $1 million in scholarships to help over 90 university students from across Australia in 2017.

“Our Bank has been working with regional people and communities for almost 160 years, and we know regional students face significant disadvantage when compared with their metropolitan counterparts.

“Young regional people tell us they face many barriers which go beyond reduced access to formal education services, to include a lack of access to non-traditional forms of training including job-readiness and upskilling programs.

“We need to act to improve outcomes for young people in rural communities - if left unaddressed, an already glaring disparity is likely to grow from a gap to a chasm.

“We welcome any action to achieve education equity in the regions and we will continue to invest in young people,” Mr Johanson said.

The [In]Sight - Human Capital Index shows regional Australia is behind in a number of key areas:

  • Based on NAPLAN results, regional areas perform significantly lower than their metropolitan neighbours in both primary and secondary numeracy and literacy;
  • The proportion of young regional Australians (aged 15-24) not engaged in either education or employment is 44% higher than metropolitan areas; and
  • This divide carries through to post-secondary education too, with 9% fewer Australians in regional areas university qualified

Regional Australia Institute CEO, Jack Archer, said the report also highlighted the need to focus on life-long learning, with less than 10 percent of regional people aged over 30 years engaged in adult education.

“If Australia is serious about addressing this entrenched education gap it will need to look at the ‘complete puzzle’, and this means examining access to learning opportunities and the quality of engagement in learning across the entire regional community.

“Whether you’re eight or 88, if you’re in a regional area we want you to be engaged in learning,” Mr Archer said.

One of the key ways Bendigo and Adelaide Bank is investing in future generations is through its scholarship program*. Now in its tenth year, the program is one of the largest privately funded scholarship programs in Australia, supporting 552 students to the tune of $6.2 million.

* this includes Community Bank®, Rural Bank, Rural Finance, The Alexander and Bridget Jones – Montmorency Secondary College Scholarship and scholarships offered in partnership with University of Melbourne and La Trobe University.

Watch

See Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Chairman Robert Johanson, Regional Australia Institute CEO Jack Archer and Deakin University Vice-Chancellor Jane Den Hollander highlight the need for education equity for regional people

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More information:

Insight Index

Summary - Learning Cultures in Regional Australia

Report - Developing Human Capital Across Australia

Talking Point - Learning Cultures in Regional Australia

For more information on the RAI: www.regionalaustralia.org.au

Related Topics

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