Our Say: Speak up, again, to get equality in education

Residents from the region should make their voices heard when a forum is held in Dubbo next week on regional, rural and remote education.

The independent review is led by emeritus Professor John Halsey and is “considering the challenges, barriers and successes that impact on students’ education outcomes, including transition to further study, training and employment”.

Parkes Federal MP Mark Coulton says Professor Halsey is keen to meet with local community members who have an interest or experience in regional, rural and remote education. That includes teachers and school staff, parents, young people, business/industry members who may be involved in VET or apprenticeship arrangements and philanthropic groups.

Some residents may be cynical and say it is just another review of an issue that was the subject of a study at around 15 sites across the nation two years ago. 

That was conducted by politicians led by a senior Nationals member. They heard all the stories of woe from parents and students struggling to cope with the general costs of university study. Only available away from home for most, it could cost up to $25,000 a year and that does not include course fees.

There are also issues in other sectors of tertiary education.

Despite the impassioned “evidence” and pleas from region-dwellers, so far nothing has happened. No help, no plan … not even a questionable promise.

The uni education topic appears to have been grouped with the “not as good as Gonski 1” school funding put up by the Turnbull Government and the whole education issue is being reviewed again.

The obvious question is: Why? The answers are likely to be spin-doctored to distract from the Government’s apparent unwillingness to take on an issue which will require funding.

It is not as though Canberra can say it does not know or understand the issues. They have been out there for a long, long time. And that has been too long without resolution.

That should not stop anyone with a stake in the issue from speaking out. Get to the forum in Dubbo – or even the one in Narrabri – and help make the case. And if not, try to do it online. But, do it.

Who knows, perhaps the Professor can educate the government and get it to finally fix the problem.