Rural Victorian secondary schools’ retention rates in decline

In the build up to November’s Victorian State elections, experts say that education must be the major priority, particularly in rural Victoria.

The latest Victorian Government figures have shown that the proportion of rural students completing year 12 has been in decline since 2002.

President of the Australian Education Union (Victorian Branch) Mary Bluett says the major issue confronting the State Government and the Opposition in November’s elections is the declining secondary school retention rates in rural Victoria.

“The big issue is there is a much lower school retention rate in country Victoria than, in say, Metropolitan,” she said.

The State-wide average for students completing year 12 is currently 81 per cent.

While secondary school retention rates in rural Victoria was 67.2 per cent last year.

Ms. Bluett identifies the Central Highlands Wimmera region of Victoria as a major challenge for the State Government.

“Some of the most challenging areas are probably around the Wimmera, where there’s big distances between schools. The schools are smaller,” she said.

The Brumby Labor Government’s 2010 State Budget promises a 230.3 million dollar investment in Victorian schools, yet Ms. Bluett says Victoria remains underfunded in education.

“Victoria is and still the lowest funded state when it comes to expenditure on education,” she said.

Victorian secondary school retention rates
Year Rural Victoria Metropolitan Victoria
2002 72% 85.6%
2009 67.2% 85.8%



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