For educational efforts to flourish there must be proper guidance and greater general acceptance within rural communities.
Education plays a vital role within our life, but this is not expressed equally within communities in rural Australia. It is vital for these children to learn to value education and to be provided with the facilities and resources that are necessary for this service. Education becomes an important factor for change that not only helps the youth grow but also positively impact their society they reside in.
It becomes apparent that there is a clash in values between modernised Australia and its rural communities. As these values are pushed upon these communities and the children that reside there, it is important to understand the diversity that each community derives of. Many of rural Australia hold other beliefs that do not agree with values presented by modernised Australia and instead live by traditional values revolving around the individual, the family and the community. Most often these beliefs deemphasise the value of education in instead focus on the role that these children are to fit into within their society.
Each community is unique
A misconception that is held widely today is the term ‘rurality’. Many Australians believe that the term ‘rurality’ is applicable for all communities outside Australian metropolitan areas. However, rurality is defined for all things in differing social and historical contexts; for many of these rural communities they are made up of different social and historical backgrounds, making each community unique. There is an enormous level of diversity of rural communities, meaning that there is an equal amount of diversity within people’s education, social attitudes and values and their aspirations and expectations. It is true that most rural communities do emphasise the broad traditional values of family and community but each community have their own standards and expectations.
A perceived value of education
Rural children today have disregarded education as unimportant within their personal and social lives; this is partially due to the aspirations and expectations that are placed onto them by their parents, community members and their elders. Children seem to be well-protected on measures of connectedness to their families and communities. There seems to be an overall greater sense of trust and safety than urban children and there is more emphasis on community and social resources as these children are under their caregiver and their perceptions of child well-being. These children become raised in a household where there are no examples of their elders with education.
Many of these children grow up with the upheld value of family and society. Family networks are greatly established to focus on helping young people find work in the local area, rather than encouraging these youth to finish school and consider further education and training. Furthermore there are no relevant role models within their community that emphasise the importance, benefits and values that education and proper learning brings.
Most importantly there is no voice that would or could challenge these traditional values within family and community. To bring about change within these rural communities there must be exemplary works of education benefitting not only the children but also to their local community.
So how can we help these communities?
Children living in rural Australia today live in more vulnerability and unfitting conditions, and their situation limits their access to improvements in education and quality-of-life. For educational growth within rural communities there must be more examples and experiences of success. A practical way is providing indigenous students with more facilities and resources that are missing from their rural communities. Research has indicated how these restrictions impact student’s aspirations and expectations, and by being able to provide these students with more opportunities and resources of education throughout their childhood and their transition within primary and high school.
Help us make a difference by donating to Nhuubala Yugal Education Centre, a Moree-based organisation that focuses on encouraging rural children partake in education. If you would like to help support our cause, please consider donating here. Every donation is used to help support not only the education of rural students but also helping the community grow in quality education.
· ‘High and Dry’ In Rural Australia: Obstacles to Student Aspirations and Expectations. https://www-tandfonline-com.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/doi/pdf/10.5172/rsj.3220.127.116.11?needAccess=true&
· Subjective Well-Being for Children in a Rural Community. https://www-tandfonline-com.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/doi/pdf/10.5172/rsj.318.104.22.168?needAccess=true&