Regional students take charge of education futures

Local students joined with their peers from across South Australia to meet with key education decision makers recently to explore key areas impacting on their education. The group of 20 students, including some from Mount Gambier High School and Kangaroo Inn Area School, met with senior personnel from the Department of Education and the Senior Advisor to the Minister for Education.

They also presented to the Annual Area Schools Conference. The students are part of Country Education Partnership’s Rural Youth Ambassador program and have been working with peers from across rural and remote South Australia to develop solutions to challenges faced in their schools. One of the key areas that was explored by the Rural Youth Ambassadors focussed on the engagement of young people within their communities in education, especially schooling.

They explored a range of solutions to address this challenge including increasing the curriculum choices provided within their communities by encouraging schools within rural regions working more closely together, providing the learning that rural and remote young people desire to achieve their dreams.

A key solution they developed focussed on the possibility of schools in local geographic areas working together to provide students with access to the subjects and learning opportunities they want that would keep them engaged in school and pathways. “We also talked about how we could acknowledge and reward inspirational teachers within our rural and remote communities – the idea of an annual award was proposed,” William Sampson from Wudinna Area School said.

While the prospect of presenting to a room of principals was daunting for the Rural Youth Ambassadors, most of them said they felt inspired by the experience. The South Australian Rural Youth Ambassadors will come together again during Term Three.

They will also have the opportunity to join with their national counterparts for a three-day forum at Parliament House in Canberra later this year.

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