This issue includes eight articles dealing with a variety of aspects pertaining to rural education. In the first paper Aaron Drummond, John Halsey and Marja van Breda explore rural residents' perceived importance of the presence of universities in non-metropolitan locations. Visiting a major rural show, Aaron and his colleagues conducted a survey in which they discovered that the participants believed that universities are needed in rural areas to ensure young people in rural areas are able to continue their education.
David Curtis discusses VTE as a substitute for or pathway into higher education in our second article. He explores the extent to which VET is used as a substitute for higher education by rural youth. Using data from the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth, David found high aspirational levels for post-school study and work among rural and regional Australian youth. However, he discovered a disparity between aspirations and labour market structures, and cautions that his study did not explore in detail market opportunities.
In our third article Helen Boon discusses the links between beliefs and knowledge about education for sustainability among a group of first-year pre-service teachers. Surveying 97 pre-service teachers, Helen found that the respondents endorsed the need to cover the topic in their teaching, are confident in being able to do so and have personal intention to behave in a manner consistent with their beliefs about sustainability. One of Helen's concluding comments indicates the need for an international study into this topic.
Janice Franklin examines the National Resource Outcomes, which reflect national and global sustainability goals, with respect to their impact on local communities, particularly the oversight of traditional and informal rural knowledges and practices. She presents a strong argument for the recognition and use of locally acquired knowledge to enhance the quality of rural education.
Kathy Jenkins, Paul Reitano and Neil Taylor report on a survey they conducted with self-identified and later career teachers in regional New South Wales. Using a free response survey they asked teachers to identify positive and negative aspects of their choice. The researchers propose an action research model of professional learning, particularly with consideration of advances in ICT, which allow teachers to contextualise their professional learning.
In the sixth article, Kerre Willsher and Joy Penman discuss the 'Scientists in Schools' initiative in a South Australian regional school. Their findings were positive in several respects: teaching science to school students; learning about university; and, personal and professional growth for the teacher and university academics involved in the program.
Teacher perceptions of non-compliance in rural primary schools are explored in the article written by Kim Reynolds, Jennifer Stephenson and Robyn Beaman. Using the results from 42 completed teacher surveys; they found general agreement existed about defining moderate to serious non-compliant behaviour, with teachers arguing for more support regarding minor non-compliant behaviour. Kim, Jennifer and Robyn also examine the impact of non-compliant behaviour on multi-age level classrooms.
Our final article from Janet Sawyer and Bronwyn Ellis discusses why students from South Australian regional areas elect to study in Adelaide. Surveying internal students enrolled in Business programs, they found that nearly half of the respondents were unaware of regional availability of the programs, while those who were aware had obtained this information from the university website. In addition, while the respondents indicated a preference for attending metropolitan-based courses in their first year of university study, subsequent to this experience regional-based intensive summer and/or winter schools attracted interest.