BUDGET 2020: Setting up our schools for a digital future

Schools in Dubbo are some of the big winners in this year’s NSW Budget with the first wave of the digital school upgrades delivering $20 million to 30 regional schools, 20 in the Dubbo Electorate.

The NSW Government $366 million Rural Access Gap program will start in Dubbo and will help close the gap in educational opportunities experienced by students in rural and remote areas of the state.

Member for the Dubbo Electorate Dugald Saunders said that Dubbo was the perfect place to start a program that will change the lives of so many regional school students.

“We chose the area for its diverse educational landscape, home to the state’s main Distance Education Centre which provides curriculum, training and support to all rural schools and support to the 13 other centres,” Mr Saunders said.

“We know that our classrooms are becoming more reliant on digital resources and technology, and we must ensure our regions have the same access as metro schools.”

The Rural Access Gap is a direct intervention package that will ensure every student in regional NSW with have access to the same opportunities no matter where they live. The package will actively bring the digital capabilities of more than 1,000 regional schools in line with their metro counterparts.

“I’m really excited and proud that our schools will be the first to benefit from this program,” Mr Saunders said.

“The program will deliver new technology to classrooms, laptops to teachers, upgraded administration systems, training for 29 digital classroom officers and professional development for teachers so they can leverage the upgrade to benefit their students.”

“The upgrade will give teachers access to resources and support that previously has not been easily accessible.

“They will also receive training so that they know how to use these upgrades in a way that will benefit students most.”

“The Education Minister, Sarah Mitchell and I are dedicated to ensuring that all students, no matter where they live, have access to the best educational opportunities.

“Local schools will be receiving these upgrades now ready for Term 1 2021.”

This program is on top of the almost $650 million announced in this budget for regional school infrastructure, $120 million for free preschool and $337 million for free tuition at schools.

“Casual, temporary and retired teachers, along with final year teaching students and university tutors, will go into our classrooms to help students catch up,” Mr Saunders said.

“This initiative will not only help our students, but it will also help educators in Dubbo with more than 5000 staff expected to be engaged under this program.”

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