Australia’s first Regional Education Commissioner, the Hon Fiona Nash has released her first Annual Report which explores the state of the education, training, and skills sectors in regional Australia. The Report outlines activities and research undertaken by Ms Nash during 2022.
Ms Nash is a champion for the educational needs of regional, rural, and remote students across early childhood, schools, vocational education and training, and higher education.
Ms Nash’s vision is ‘that all people in regional, rural and remote Australia, regardless of where they live and what barriers they face, can access the education they need to reach their full potential’.
During 2022, Ms Nash engaged with over 140 unique stakeholders and hosted roundtables to discuss the ongoing issues facing the regional education sector. The Annual Report puts forward issues for consideration, which include improving access to and participation and attainment in education for children and young people in regional, rural, and remote Australia.
Ms Nash will oversee a range of projects over 2023-2024 including:
- Mapping existing regional and remote tertiary access programs in schools.
- Investigating effective interventions to retain regional and remote students to Year 12.
- Investigating the internet requirements of regional, rural, and remote tertiary students and how to best support students to deliver access to reliable, affordable internet services to meet their needs.
- Improving regional and remote student support services.
- An education specific regional and remote geographical classification tool.
The appointment of a Regional Education Commissioner was a key recommendation of the National Regional Rural and Remote Tertiary Education Strategy (Napthine Review). It is a non-statutory appointment, independent from the Commonwealth Department of Education and portfolio Ministers. This independence ensures Ms Nash can represent the broad views and experiences of the regional education sector, including peak and professional bodies, education and training providers and students.