Additional funding for boarding students in regional, rural and remote areas is an important and critical development, says National Catholic Education executive director Jacinta Collins.
“The Australian Government’s investment of $10.9 million in the Commonwealth Regional Scholarship Program will help improve educational outcomes for our students living outside of our large cities and towns, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students,” Ms Collins said on Friday.
“Catholic schools are present throughout Australia, including in some of the most remote communities, and we welcome the pilot scholarship program for families across regional, rural and remote Australia who can now apply for up to $20,000 per year to go towards boarding school fees.
“This will improve not just student learning, but also see students maintain connections to their communities.”
Ms Collins said schools in remote regions face significant challenges around disadvantage, attendance, wellbeing and other factors that impact greatly on student learning outcomes.
“This program, which provides scholarships for up to six years so students can be supported until they complete Year 12 or equivalent, is an important move,” Ms Collins said.
“It is vital that our governments and those creating policy continue to focus on long term solutions to assist students living outside of our major urban areas to succeed at school and to further their educational options.”
Ms Collins said a number of Catholic boarding schools were successful in accessing funding under the Indigenous boarding grants program and have used the funding to continue to provide quality learning environments.
Catholic education operates 52 boarding schools across Australia which cater for 5260 (FTE) students including 1327 (FTE) Indigenous boarding students.
Bridging divide through new scholarship program (National Tribune)