Education in the bush  

 

Educating children in the bush and remote areas of Australia is a challenge.

My children were all School of the Air students for their primary school years before heading off to School of the Airboarding school in Perth for their Secondary education. Once our eldest son started school I found myself with a new role as his Home Tutor, a job I continued for 18 years until our youngest child left for boarding school.

Whilst enrolled with School of the Air children only speak to their teacher and classmates for 30 –45 minutes a day. Up until about 12 months ago (2004) this was done via HF radio but now it is via the computer and Internet. The rest of the day it is up to me to ensure they complete their written work supplied, formerly by the Schools of Isolated and Distance Education, and now by WestOne.

Children in rural and remote areas sometimes miss out in educational terms due to the limited facilities of their schools, distances from major centres offering cultural and educational facilities, small number of children in the classes to interact with, low numbers impacting on ability to form sporting teams, difficulty in getting staff to these areas and a range of other issues.

A vibrant and passionate lobby group who have been working for over 30 years to address these issues is the Isolated Children’s and Parents’ Association of Australia with members in every state and branches in all states except ACT and Victoria. The lobbying power and professionalism of this group is second to none and if you have the least interest in education in rural and remote areas of Australia I urge you to consider joining www.icpa.com.au

Schools of the Air (SOTA) or Schools of Distance Education (SODE) provide education to children who are geographicallyisolated from schools. They also provide a service to people travelling in Australia or overseas and for other students who may meet special criteria.

The children study at home with their Home Tutor (often a parent but may be an employed tutor) and complete work using written, audio and visual materials. This work is then forwarded to their teacher at their particular school, who will mark the work and return it to the student.

Students participate in lessons each day with other student and their teacher as well as having a range of camps and activity days when they can join together face to face.
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Check out some SOTA and SODE websites

Meekatharra School of the Air   http://myweb.westnet.com.au/msota/index.html
Kalgoorlie School of the Air
   http://www.emerge.net.au/~kalsota/
Port Hedland School of the Air    http://www.porthedlandsota.wa.edu.au/
Dubbo School of Distance Education    http://www.dubbo.dec.education.nsw.gov.au/
Katherine School of the Air  http://www.schools.nt.edu.au/ksa/

studying with school of the air
bulldust lline
 
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