SPERA began in 1984 and has members in all Australian states and territories as well as internationally. The society holds an annual conferenceand produces regular newsletters and journals.
SPERA aims to advanceme education opportunities in rural Australia by:
- serving as a national advocate for rural education
- promoting delivery systems that bring about efficient and effective learning; and
- collating and disseminating information on the provision of education in rural Australia.
Mission and Goals
The Society for the Provision of Education in Rural Australia (SPERA) links people with a diverse range of interests in education and training:
- advocate for and support the provision of quality education and training in rural contexts;
- promote a positive view of education in rural areas and encourage innovation in the provision of rural education services;
- provide a forum for the sharing of concerns, issues and experiences relating to education and training in rural areas; and
- collaborate with universities to support the recruitment and retention of educators for careers in rural education contexts.
SPERA advances the education and training opportunities for all people in rural Australia by:
- encouraging both the collection and sharing of relevant research and information on the provision of education and training in rural areas;
- conducting an annual national conference to exchange ideas and information about education and training in rural education;
- serving as a national advocate representing rural education and training; and
- sponsoring the annual Australian Rural Education Awards.
SPERA is committed to equitable access to education and training, and advancing educational excellence. Issues to address include:
- rural isolation;
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education;
- opportunities for women and girls;
- integration of people with disability;
- school retention rates;
- socio-economic disadvantage; and
- secondary and post-secondary education and training.
Funding for Education
SPERA believes equity in accessing education is a crucial issue. SPERA believes that governments must fund equitable access to education, and support programs offering opportunities to study in rural areas.
Schools and Post-secondary Systems
SPERA supports education and training that is diverse and meets the particular needs of those in rural areas, and believes rural schools must be maintained and strengthened with adequate resources. Post-secondary education and training in rural Australia is vital to ensure people can live and study in their communities. Flexible learning systems must be developed to support the delivery of a wide variety of curriculum offerings in both school and post-secondary systems.
SPERA believes that teacher education courses should take account of the rural environment and include rural experiences. Teachers should be positively encouraged to teach in rural areas through pre-service and in-service programs.
Vocational education programs in rural areas should be adequately supported as part of a holistic approach to rural education. Rural vocational training must be made relevant to local contexts and given a fair allocation of available education and training funding.
SPERA recognises education as a lifelong process, and the need for adequate initial and continuing education and training to be available to rural communities. It encourages the establishment and funding of adult education centres, vocational and Regional University Centres to ensure that rural people have access to the informal education process, and articulation into formal education and training.
SPERA encourages its members and the educational community to become involved in celebrating the strengths of rural services, including education and training, and in community development which aids the sustainability of rural communities.