Finding teachers is hard, finding teachers that are willing to work in a rural remote setting is harder still and incentives to assist are to be encouraged.
Flinders University education expert and reviewer for the 2017/18 Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education in Australia, Emeritus Professor John Halsey, welcomed the government’s announcement to waive HELP debts for up to five years for teachers working in very remote schools.
Prof Halsey said, “It is very encouraging to see the Australian Government continuing to focus on the complex challenge of attracting and retaining teachers in very remote schools and communities'.
“The announcement by the Government to encourage teachers to stay longer in very remote settings by wiping up to five years' worth of their HELP debt is welcome news.
"This additional financial incentive must be carefully implemented to ensure that teacher quality and expertise remains a top priority".
‘As I argued in my report for the Australian Government, attracting and retaining top educators for RRR schools and communities needs greater importance and resourcing being given to all stages of undergraduate preparation, appointing and supporting a teacher to become a highly competent professional.
"Extending the new scheme to include school principals and positions of additional responsibility such as curriculum coordinators should also occur.
"As well, systems will need to provide tailored, professional support for teachers and leaders who stay longer in very remote locations than they might have originally planned to do so."
Image by Chris Fithall flicr cc attribution license