Attracting Teachers to Schools in Rural and Remote Areas in Australia
Region-related disparities are among the main factors that explain differences in access and equity in education (Lee, 2001). Schools in remote and rural areas often have difficulty in recruiting and retaining staff with certain qualifications and experience, and preparing them to address the educational complexity in these areas, such as multi-grade settings and specific student groups (OECD, 2018). The challenge of attracting teachers with experience is particularly severe in Australia, where the proportion of secondary teachers with five years or less of teaching experience in areas of 15 000 people or fewer is the second highest among countries participating in TALIS – 26% compared to an average of 18%. (OECD, 2014). In the Australian context, as distance from metropolitan centres increased, student performance as measured by PISA decreased, with students from metropolitan schools achieving significantly higher than those from provincial or remote schools (Thomson, De Bortoli and Underwood, 2016). Importantly, the terms rural and remote need to be understood as they relate to a specific context. For example, rural areas close to cities and remote rural areas can show different trends in the share of population, and very particular ways of capitalising on natural environments and strategic economic sectors (OECD, 2017).