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National Summit aims at equal opportunities for regional students
October 28, 2005
A national meeting of educators early next month will be the next big step in a multi-million-dollar campaign to improve educational outcomes in mathematics, science and computing subjects for students in rural and regional Australia.
The meeting is the first of its kind since the founding, at The University of New England in 2004, of the National Centre of Science, Information and Communication Technology, and Mathematics Education for Rural and Regional Australia (SiMERR Australia).
This, the first “SiMERR National Summit”, will bring together representatives of Federal Government departments, State and Territory education authorities, national teachers’ associations, universities, parent associations, and other groups. Stimulated by talks from several of Australia’s leading educationalists, they will discuss strategies for ending the disadvantage faced by many non-metropolitan students of science, ICT and mathematics. They will also be presented with the initial results of SiMERR Australia’s first national project – a survey of all regional primary and secondary schools in Australia concerning the teaching and learning of these subjects.
The SiMERR National Summit, at the Australian Science and Mathematics School in Adelaide, will begin on Tuesday 8 November, when about 100 delegates will listen to speakers including Professor Kaye Stacey (Foundation Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Melbourne), Professor Kwong Lee Dow (Chair, Commonwealth Review of Teaching and Teacher Education, 2002-2003), and Dr Gregor Ramsey (Chair, Interim Board, National Institute for Quality Teaching and School Leadership). In his review of teacher education in NSW titled Quality Matters – Revitalising teaching: Critical times, critical choices, and completed in 2000, Dr Ramsey strongly endorsed UNE’s proposal to establish SiMERR Australia, saying: “Clearly . . . the supply of mathematics teachers overall is falling rapidly. In particular, there is an approaching crisis in supply to inland and isolated schools.”
The meeting will continue on Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 November with a series of workshops for about 50 representatives of SiMERR Australia’s “hubs” at universities in every State and Territory.
UNE’s Professor John Pegg (pictured here), the Director of SiMERR Australia, said the meeting was occurring at a critical time for rural and regional Australia.
“Nothing can be more destructive for rural communities than for their children to under-perform at school through reduced opportunities,” Professor Pegg said. “The results of the SiMERR National Survey, to be discussed at the meeting and followed up in the workshops, will give Governments a basis for formulating policies that will lead to improved educational outcomes.”
The project manager for the SiMERR National Survey, Dr Terry Lyons of UNE, will present data from the survey based on responses from 2,954 teachers and 928 parents.
Media contact: Professor John Pegg, SiMERR National Centre, UNE (02) 6773 5070 or Dr Debra Panizzon, SiMERR National Centre, UNE (02) 6773 5061.
Posted by Jim Scanlan at October 28, 2005 04:18 PM