Higher education and digital media in rural Australia: The current situation for youth
Equitable access and participation in higher education from regional youth is a major concern in Australia (National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE), 2015). Currently 0.9% of all university students in Australia come from a regional or remote area (NCSEHE, 2015). This statistic is alarming in the context of the ever-rising digital economy in Australia, and the increasing importance of higher education for employment. This article synthesises current literature relating to Australian regional youth’s low participation in higher education, and the implications of this for their employability in the rapidly-developing digital economy. The compilation of data relating to Australian youth and higher education emphasises the need for further research and understanding into how these young people make the decision to pursue university, and furthermore pursue a career in digital media. In relation to all undergraduate enrolments, the proportion of regional higher education students is stagnant or falling (NCSEHE, 2015). As a nation, the demand for digital competencies in the workforce is rising (Foundation for Young Australians (FYA), 2015). Access to these technologies in regional Australia is more limited and expensive than metropolitan areas (Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee, 2015). Consequently, regional youth risk missing out on the opportunity to master digital technologies to participate in the workforce both via their limited access to them at home, and their lack of participation in higher education where they would acquire skills for digital workplace contexts (Duncan-Howell, 2012).
ABC. (2014). Electorates in rural Australia are home to many of the nation's poorest people. ABC (online). Retrieved October 31, 2015 from http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bushtelegraph/rural-poverty/5909108
Alston, M. (2000). Rural poverty. Australian Social Work, 53(1), 29-34.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). (2014). Household use of information technology, Australia, 2012-13. ABS (online). Retrieved January 26, 2016 from http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/8146.02012-13?OpenDocument
ABS. (2008). Australian Social Trends 2008. ABS (online). Retrieved January 17, 2016 from http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Chapter3002008
ABS. (2006). Patterns of internet access in Australia, 2006. ABS (online). Retrieved September 21, 2015 from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/8146.0.55.001/
Australian Clearinghouse for Youth Studies. (2015). Engaging young people in regional, rural and remote Australia. Department of Education and Training (online). Retrieved November 13, 2016 from https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/young_people_in_regional_rural_and_remote_australia.pdf
Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). (2009a). Digital media literacy in Australia. ACMA (online). Retrieved January 13, 2016 from http://www.acma.gov.au/~/media/mediacomms/Research%20library%20reports%20old/Word%20Document/Digital%20media%20literacy%20in%20Australia%20doc.doc
ACMA. (2009b). Adult digital media literacy needs: Qualitative research report. ACMA (online). Retrieved September 21, 2015 from http://www.acma.gov.au/webwr/_assets/main/lib310665/adult_digital_media_literacy_needs_research.pdf
Australian Computer Society. (2015). Australia’s digital pulse: key challenges for our nation – digital skills, jobs and education. Australian Computer Society (online). Retrieved January 25, 2016 from https://www.acs.org.au/content/dam/acs/acs-publications/02062015-Australias-Digital-Pulse-FINAL.PDF
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2014). National Assessment Program – ICT Literacy Years 6 and 10 Report 2014. National Assessment Program (online). Retrieved January 14, 2016 from http://www.nap.edu.au/verve/_resources/D15_8761__NAP-ICT_2014_Public_Report_Final.pdf
Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS). (2014). Poverty in Australia report 2014. ACOSS (online). Retrieved October 31, 2015 from http://www.acoss.org.au/poverty-2/
Australian Education Union. (2015). Regional TAFE enrolments plummet after sector gutted. Australian Education Union Victoria (online). Retrieved February 7, 2016 from http://www.aeuvic.asn.au/986099.html
Baxter, J., Hayes, A. & Gray, M. (2011). Families in regional, rural and remote Australia. Australian Institute of Family Studies (online). Retrieved October 31, 2015 from https://aifs.gov.au/publications/families-regional-rural-and-remote-australia
Brown, S. (2013). “I don’t want my children to go to college.” The Atlantic (online). Retrieved January 20, 2016 from http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/09/i-dont-want-my-children-to-go-to-college/279776/
Carter, L. (2015). Digital literacy 'substantially declining' in Australian students. Recorded ABC radio interview, posted November 17. ABC (online). Retrieved January 14, 2016 from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-17/digital-literacy-'substantially-declining'-in/6947986
Centre for Innovative Industry Economic Research Inc (CIIER). 2008. Tasmanian ICT Industry Sector Assessment Report. TasICT (online). Retrieved May 19, 2016 from http://www.tasict.com/uploads/Tasmanian-ICT-Sector-Assessment-Report-2008-final-.pdf
Charles Sturt University. (2009). Submission to the inquiry into rural and regional access to secondary and tertiary education opportunities. Charles Sturt University (online). Retrieved October 31, 2015 from https://www.csu.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/51590/inq-rur-reg-acc-sec-and-tert-educ.pdf
Curtis, D. (2011). Tertiary education provision in rural Australia: is vet a substitute for, or a pathway into, higher education? Education in Rural Australia, 21(2), 19-35.
Dalley-Trim, L. & Alloway, N. (2010). Looking "outward and onward" in the outback: regional Australian students' aspirations and expectations for their future as framed by dominant discourses of further education and training. Australian Educational Researcher, 37(2), 107-125.
Deloitte Australia. (2016). Australia’s digital pulse. Deloitte (online). Retrieved November 13, 2016 from https://www2.deloitte.com/au/en/pages/economics/articles/australias-digital-pulse.html
Department of Education and Training (DET). (2016). Summary of the 2015 full year higher education student statistics. Department of Education and Training (online). Retrieved November 13, 2016 from https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/2015_full_year_word_summary.pdf
DET. (2014a). Higher education and research budget information. Department of Education and Training (online). Retrieved April 18, 2015 from https://education.gov.au/higher-education-and-research-budget-information
DET. (2014b). Next Step: A report on the destinations of Year 12 completers from 2013 in Queensland. Department of Education and Training (online). Retrieved May 21, 2015 from http://education.qld.gov.au/nextstep/nextstep/2014report.html
Derks, D. & Bakker, A. (2013). The Psychology of Digital Media at Work. East Sussex: Psychology Press (online). Retrieved May 21, 2015 from http://www.tandfebooks.com.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/isbn/9780203074145
Dewar, J. (2015). New settings required for regions. The Australian, September 30.
Dezuanni, M. (2015). The building blocks of digital media literacy: socio-material participation and the production of media knowledge. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 47(3), 416-439. doi: 10.1080/00220272.2014.966152
Downey, R.G. (1980). Higher education and rural youth. In Kansas State University Rural and Small School Conference, Collected paper presented at the 2nd Annual Conference. Manhattan, KS., November 9-11, 1980. Retrieved March 10, 2015 from https://archive.org/stream/ERIC_ED201459/ERIC_ED201459_djvu.txt
Duncan-Howell, J. (2012). Digital mismatch: Expectations and realities of digital competency amongst pre-service education students. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 28(5), 827-840 (online). Retrieved November 2, 2015 from ajet.org.au/index.php/AJET/article/download/819/116
Evans, N., Ziaian, T., Sawyer, J. & Gillham, D. (2013). Affective learning in higher education: a regional perspective. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 23(1), 23-41.
Foundation for Young Australians (FYA). (2015). The New Work Order. Foundation for Young Australians (online). Retrieved January 15, 2016 from http://www.fya.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/fya-future-of-work-report-final-lr.pdf
Goggin, G. (2010). The internet, online and mobile communications and culture. In Stuart Cunningham & Graeme Turner (Edss.), The Media and Communications in Australia 3rd ed., (pp. 237-258). Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin.
Goldsmith, B. (2014). Embedded digital creatives. In G. Hearn, R. Bridgstock, B. Goldsmith and J. Rodgers (Eds.), Creative Work Beyond the Creative Industries, (pp.128-144). Cheltanham: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.
Hartley, J., Montgomery, M. & Rennie, E. (2002). Communication, cultural and media studies: The key concepts. (3rd ed). New York: Routledge.
Healey, J. (2011). Issues in Society Volume 324: Social Impacts of Digital Media. n.p.: The Spinney Press (online). Retrieved May 21, 2015 from http://site.ebrary.com/lib/qut/detail.action?docID=10500229
Higgs, P.L., Cunningham, S.D. & Pagan, J.D. (2007). Australia’s creative economy: Definitions of the segments and sectors. ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries & Innovation (CCI) (online). Retrieved May 21, 2016 from http://eprints.qut.edu.au/8242/1/8242.pdf
Hoechsmann, M. & Poyntz, S.R. (2012). Media Literacies: A Critical Introduction. West Sussex: Blackwell Publishing (online). Retrieved January 14, 2016 from http://reader.eblib.com.au/(S(zndpxr4hvqsi5mziooyl30x5))/Reader.aspx?p=822635ando=96andu=i58JQIJhXug%3dandt=1452841870andh=0A9B52302583A89CFBE038ECD3D323D5022059DBands=22692695andut=245andpg=1andr=imgandc=-1andpat=nandcms=-1andsd=1
Innovation and Business Skills Australia. (2013). Digital literacy and e-skills: participation in the digital economy. Innovation and Business Skills Australia (online). Retrieved October 31, 2015 from https://www.ibsa.org.au/sites/default/files/media/Digital%20Literacy%20and%20e-skills%20Executive%20Summary_0.pdf
Jacks, T. (2015). Texting isn't enough: Australian students' computer skills drop, new report shows. The Age, November 17 (online). Retrieved January 13, 2016 from http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/texting-isnt-enough-australian-students-computer-skills-drop-new-report-shows-20151116-gl058m.html#ixzz3xBBFFzoR
Lamb, S., Jackson, J., Walstab, A. & Huo, S. (2015). Educational opportunity in Australia 2015: Who succeeds and who misses out. Centre for International Research on Education Systems, for the Mitchell Institute (online). Retrieved January 16, 2016 from http://www.mitchellinstitute.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Factsheet-6-Rural-and-remote-communities-frequently-missing-out.pdf
Levy, S. (2014). The Benefits of University Studies. In A. Gunstone (Ed.), Developing Sustainable Education in Regional Australia, (pp.25-42). Clayton: Monash University Publishing.
Mackay, H. & Ivey, D. (2004). Modern Media in the Home. Rome: John Libbey Publishing.
Manning, I. (2010). Accessibility of essential services in urban and regional Australia. National Economic Review, 63(March), 1-14.
McKenzie, B. (2016). Improved access essential for aspiring regional students. The Australian, January 13.
McLeod, P. (2012). Declining uni enrolments spell skills drought in rural pursuits. Weekend Australian, September 29.
Mission Australia. (2014). Location, Vocation, Aspiration. Findings from Mission Australia’s Youth Survey 2014. Mission Australia (online). Retrieved September 3, 2015 from https://www.missionaustralia.com.au/publications/annual-reports/doc_download/387-youth-survey-2014-ses-report
National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE). (2015). Student equity performance in Australian higher education 2007-2014.
National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (online). Retrieved January 26, 2016 from https://www.ncsehe.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Student-Equity-Performance-in-Australian-Higher-Education-2007-to-2014.pdf
National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). (2015). Equity groups in total VET students and courses 2014. National Centre for Vocation Education Research (online). Retrieved February 7, 2016 from http://www.ncver.edu.au/wps/wcm/connect/eeab09fb-68c4-4ac6-b40f-463018d937fc/Equity-groups-in-TVA-2014-2838.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=eeab09fb-68c4-4ac6-b40f-463018d937fc
National Innovation and Science Agenda. (2015). Embracing the digital age. National Innovation and Science Agenda (online). Retrieved January 15, 2016 from http://www.innovation.gov.au/page/embracing-digital-age
National Rural Health Alliance. (2013a). A snapshot of poverty in rural and regional Australia. Rural Health (online). Retrieved April 18, 2015 from http://ruralhealth.org.au/documents/publicseminars/2013_Sep/Joint-report.pdf
National Rural Health Alliance. (2013b). Connectivity for Rural and Remote Health. Rural Health (online). Retrieved September 21, 2015 from http://ruralhealth.org.au/sites/default/files/publications/nrha-factsheet-connectivity.pdf
National Tertiary Education Union. (2013). TAFE goes down the privatisation road. National Tertiary Education Union (online). Retrieved February 7, 2016 from http://www.nteu.org.au/cqu/article/TAFE-goes-down-the-privatisation-road-14981
Paton, S. (2014). Drought and Poverty in Central Western Queensland. Regional Development Australia (online). Retrieved January 25, 2016 from http://rdafcw.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Drought-and-Poverty-in-CW-Qld.pdf
Pitman, T. (2014). Scholarship scheme should increase the regional brain drain. The Conversation (online). Retrieved November 13, 2016 from http://theconversation.com/scholarship-scheme-could-increase-the-regional-brain-drain-28504
Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee (RTIRC). (2015). Regional Telecommunications Review 2015. Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee (online). Retrieved January 23, 2016 from http://www.rtirc.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/10/RTIRC-Independent-Committee-Review-2015-FINAL-Low-res-version-for-website.pdf
Regional Universities Network. (2016). Pocket statistics. Regional Universities Network (online). Retrieved November 16, 2016 from http://www.run.edu.au/cb_pages/pocket_statistics.php
Regional Universities Network (2013). Economic Impact of the Universities in the Regional Universities Network. Regional Universities Network (online). Retrieved November 16, 2016 from http://www.run.edu.au/resources/Economic%20Impact%20Study.pdf
Reid, J., Green, B., Cooper, M., Hastings, W., Lock, G., & White, S. (2010). Regenerating rural social space? Teacher education for rural-regional sustainability. Australian Journal of Education, 54(3), 262-276.
Riddle, S. (2015). The robots are coming for your job! Why digital literacy is so important for the jobs of the future. The Conversation (online). Retrieved January 15, 2016 from http://theconversation.com/the-robots-are-coming-for-your-job-why-digital-literacy-is-so-important-for-the-jobs-of-the-future-46730
Robinson, S. (2012). Freedom, aspiration and informed choice in rural higher education: why they are saying ‘no’. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 22(2), 79-95.
Skills for a rural career. (2015). Tasmanian Country, May 1.
Swan, D. & Hearn, G. (2014). Creative digital services in education, mining and manufacturing: pursuing innovation through interoperability. In G. Hearn, R. Bridgstock, B. Goldsmith and J. Rodgers (Eds.), Creative Work Beyond the Creative Industries, (pp.61-77). Cheltanham: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.
Townsend, R. (2010). Developing 21st century diverse adult learning: rural and regional student access, progression and success in higher education. The International Journal of Learning, 17(2), 329-343.
Trounson, A. (2013). TAFE’s student enrolments in freefall. The Australian, July 15. Retrieved February 7, 2016 from http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/tafes-student-enrolments-in-freefall/story-e6frgcjx-1226678636384
Universities Australia. (2014). Changes needed to federal government’s higher education budget measures. Universities Australia (online). Retrieved September 25, 2014 from https://www.universitiesaustralia.edu.au/news/media-releases/Changes-needed-to-Federal-Government-s-Higher-Education-budget-measures#.VCPYo2eSyDo
University Reviews. (2015). Map of Australia’s Universities. University Reviews (online). Retrieved October 31, 2015 from http://universityreviews.com.au/map.html\
Manuscripts submitted for publication should not have been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. It is the responsibility of authors to secure release of any copyright materials included in their manuscripts, and to provide written evidence of this to the editors. If accepted and published, papers become the copyright of the Australian and International Journal of Rural Education.
Papers are accepted on the understanding that they are subject to editorial revision. The Editorial Committee cannot guarantee that all contributions will be published nor give definite dates of publication. However, contributors will be advised if their papers are not accepted or if there will be a long publication delay.