Connecting remote teachers nationwide
The first national conference to focus exclusively on educators who work in remote
Indigenous communities is being held in Alice Springs this week.
Hosted by the NT Department of Education and Training, the conference is the focal point
for the newly developed Teach Remote initiative supported by the National Alliance for
Remote Indigenous Schools (NARIS), which covers more than 170 indigenous schools in
four states and the Northern Territory, and aims to boost the quality of teaching in
The inaugural National Remote Teachers’ conference will provide leading edge research for
participants, generate new ideas and raise the professional profile of remote teaching.
The first initiative of its kind, NARIS was formed by the heads of education in the NT,
Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales, and in conjunction
with the Stronger Smarter Institute and the Australian Government.
A major focus of the Teach Remote initiative is to encourage teachers to commit to a
minimum of two years placement in remote communities.
Gary Barnes, Chief Executive of the NT Department of Education and Training who
instigated the alliance, said all remote indigenous schools grappled with similar problems
and it made sense to share resources at such a conference.
Mr Barnes said it was hoped remote teaching eventually gets to the point where “just about
every teacher in the country wants to work in a remote school, to step up to this challenge at
some point as part of their professional growth, to become a better teacher.”
He said teachers are more likely to stay in remote communities if they feel connected and
supported professionally and the NARIS conference was one way of providing face-to-face
networking among like teachers.
Mr Barnes said the NARIS conference would help establish professional networks enabling
teachers in Cape York in Queensland to swap notes with those in the Kimberley or the
Central Australian desert areas.
The conference is set to become an annual event, hosted each year by a different NARIS
jurisdiction with Queensland set to host the 2012 conference.
The Federal Government provided NARIS with $5 million for Teach Remote which will
contribute to attracting, retaining and developing quality teachers in remote Indigenous
Hosting this nationally significant conference is another step towards the Northern Territory
Government’s 2030 target of making Alice Springs a national hub for excellence in remote
Media contact – Bruce Cutler 0401 119 241