Catholic education regional, rural and remote directors met with the Assistant Minister for Education and Assistant Minister for Regional Development, Senator Anthony Chisholm, in Canberra last week as part of the Catholic Education Forum.
National Catholic education executive director Jacinta Collins said it was a valuable opportunity to consider key issues affecting rural, regional and remote Catholic schools including teacher recruitment, boarding school funding, wellbeing initiatives and the government’s positive promotion of the teaching profession.
Jacinta acknowledged Senator Chisholm’s strong support for Catholic education.
“Senator Chisholm in his role as assistant minister for both education and regional development brings an insight and commitment to regional education which overlaps with our work, and our mission and ministry within Catholic education,” Jacinta said.
Senator Chisholm noted the important role Catholic education played in the regions. “I know that educating in these places is not just about schooling, but you also take on a duty of care for the broader community as well. You have an insight into what’s happening in education and also an insight into what’s happening in your communities,” he said.
“The government has a bold agenda particularly around education reform, from early childhood, to schooling to university, particularly in rural, regional and remote areas and the Catholic sector has an important part to play.”
Key issues discussed during the meeting included measures to incentivise graduate teachers going into regional, rural and remote areas, and a need for further assistance to support initial teacher education practicum experience in regional and remote areas.
Senator Chisholm heard of the success of the teaching hub program which supports Aboriginal education officers and learning support officers’ remote university study while working within schools in the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes.
The advantages of federal boarding school funding assistance, including the provision of certainty for education options in remote and rural locations, were outlined as well as the positive outcomes of wellbeing funding.
The government was also commended for its leadership in raising the status of the teaching profession.
Images: Top – National Catholic education executive director Jacinta Collins with Assistant Minister for Education and Assistant Minister for Regional Development, Senator Anthony Chisholm; Centre – Catholic education regional, rural and remote directors meet with Senator Anthony Chisholm.