Teaching scholarships to benefit rural areas

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

A new $160,000 scholarship scheme at the University of Adelaide jointly funded by the South Australian Government aims to boost the number of teachers working in country areas.

Under the scheme, six University of Adelaide teaching students specialising in Mathematics and Science will receive $1000 to help them undertake a five-week teaching placement at a rural South Australian public school.

Known as the Esther Burns/DECS Country Scholarships, the annual scheme has been made possible due to a generous bequest to the University by Esther Burns, a graduate of the University who taught in Port Augusta and Quorn in the 1960s and 1970s. She died in 1994.

The Department of Education and Children's Services (DECS) has matched the funds available from Esther's bequest dollar-for-dollar, after an approach by the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Adelaide, Professor James McWha.

"The State Government recognises the benefits in providing financial support to students undertaking a country placement, and, in particular, in the critical areas of mathematics and science," Education Minister Dr Jane Lomax-Smith said.

"This scheme will go a long way towards improving the status of country teaching, and I look forward to the scholarship students making an impact at their chosen rural and remote schools."

"We are delighted to work with the State Government to support students financially and assist them in accessing and contributing to country teaching," said Professor Tania Aspland, Head of the University of Adelaide's School of Education.

"All of our pre-service teaching students at Adelaide are required to undertake country placements. This new scheme will help our science and mathematics students in particular make the transition to working in rural and remote areas, where there are great opportunities for employment after they graduate.

"Our ultimate aim is to increase the numbers of graduating students who take up employment in rural areas in South Australia based on this pre-service experience. These new scholarships will help the University and the State Government support schools and professional staff in rural settings and provide positive experiences for students who may then choose to return to the country as an exciting career option.

"I am very pleased that a former country teacher and University of Adelaide alumnus in Esther Burns has shown the foresight to contribute to a new generation of country teachers, and just as pleased that the State Government has demonstrated a similar commitment as an ongoing University partner in teacher education."


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Mr David Ellis
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