Higher education and digital media in rural Australia: The current situation for youth
Keywords:regional youth, higher education, digital media, digital economy, access, digital dividel economy
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 youthâ€™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).
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