Regional students start the year with record tech reboot

Record spend on regional digital education ensures student access to same opportunities regardless of where they live.

Image: The Rural Access Gap program will deliver the latest technologies to regional schools.

Students in Dubbo will be the first to benefit from the record-breaking investment in regional digital education when they return to school this week.

The upgrade is the first rollout of the NSW Government’s $365.8 million Rural Access Gap investment, providing rural and regional schools access to the future of digital technology.

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said she wanted to see all students had access to the same educational facilities and opportunities no matter where they lived.

“I want every student learning at our schools in regional NSW to enjoy the same opportunities as their metro peers,” Ms Mitchell said.

“This investment in technology will provide students and teachers learning in the regions with more opportunities than ever before.

"Students can access subjects previously only available in larger schools and teachers have additional support and a broad library of professional development options.

"As someone who was educated in regional NSW, I know how important and life-changing creating these opportunities will be and how important improving regional education is for our communities."

The package will support more than 1000 regional and rural schools across the state with the very best digital teaching and learning tools including new devices in the classroom for students, laptops for teachers and training for staff so that they can drive the best use out of this investment.

Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said this program would provide teachers with laptops, improve student device ratios and allow all regional schools to be upgraded with high-speed access.

“High-performance, web-conference tools will allow our regional students and teachers to use a mix of telepresence and on-site teaching resources, which will push them into endless development and curriculum possibilities,” Mr Dominello said.

Orana Heights Public School in Dubbo is one of the first schools to have their classrooms fitted with smart boards, five-times faster internet access, laptops for all teaching staff and additional student devices.

Local MP Dugald Saunders said he was excited to see 28 schools in the region equipped in the same way as Orana Heights Public School.

“I am excited to see the delivery of the Rural Access Gap to our Dubbo students. We all know the importance of technology, and it’s really exciting to see our country students have access to it,” Mr Saunders said.

After being rolled out in Dubbo, the RAG will be provided to a further 81 schools in Term 2 this year, with the remaining schools upgraded by mid-2023.

The program is estimated to generate around 5,000 jobs, including 1,786 regional jobs directly created by program spending.

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