An Australian-first postgraduate course in rural education has begun at Flinders University thanks to a $414,000 gift from Origin Foundation.
Students coming from as far afield as Horn Island off the tip of Cape York, outback Queensland, rural New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria are all leaders from schools or pre-schools in their local communities.
The Master of Education (Leadership and Management) degree, developed by Flinders University and Principals Australia Institute, focuses on the challenges facing rural educational leaders, such as the education of children with specific learning needs, managing finances and designing individualised schooling programs.
Sean Barrett, Head of Origin Foundation, said: “We want all children to have the same opportunities, but according to research, children in regional and rural communities are not performing at the same level as those in metropolitan Australia.
“One way of tackling that is to make sure that schools in regional and rural communities have the best principals. Principals in these communities have greater and different challenges to those in cities. After completing this Masters course these principals will have the additional skills to make their schools as successful as possible.”
Bernadette Warburton, Red Cliffs Secondary College
Bernadette Warburton from Red Cliffs Secondary College in Mildura is one of 20 school leaders to receive the scholarship. She said: “As a professional it gives me a chance to develop my leadership skills further, and it will also be beneficial for the staff. Being in a rural area, the opportunities are much more limited than for those in the city.”
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