Adjournment – My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Education, and the action I seek is that he broaden the Shepparton education plan to provide a technical school in Shepparton for the benefit of all schools in our region. The Shepparton education plan is being implemented. The planning is well advanced for the transition phase that will take place over the next two years. The plan commences in 2020 with a new curriculum, greater professional training for teachers and greater opportunities for secondary public school students.
It has been obvious to many in our community that we needed to take drastic steps to improve the educational outcomes of children in the Greater Shepparton region. This is not just about providing a bigger and better building for our students, but it is about improving the curriculum, the standard of teaching and access to alternative and extended educational opportunities for those who need and want them. We know that many young people in regional areas do not have the opportunities and therefore the aspirations that those in metropolitan regions have. It is essential to change this so that our young people know that they can study and dare to achieve and to gain the goals and careers that they want.
During the period of 2015–18 some 10 technical schools were announced and delivered across Victoria. We saw such a school built on the campus of La Trobe University at Bendigo. I visited the Yarra Ranges Tech School at Lilydale, and there is no doubt this is a very high-tech institution that provides expanded educational opportunities beyond what we have previously seen in the secondary school setting. These technical schools are not the traditional trade schools for those students who aspire to trades and the like. They are high-tech schools offering subjects like robotics, 3D printing and computer sciences. One of the outstanding benefits of having a tech school is that once established it will be available to all schools in the region, whether they be primary, secondary, state, Catholic or grammar schools. Students in all schools receive the option to be exposed to these high-tech educational opportunities. In our region La Trobe University, the University of Melbourne and GOTAFE are ideally placed to partner with such a tech school.
The 10 tech schools that have already been opened include locations in Ballarat, Geelong, Gippsland and, as mentioned, Bendigo. Greater Shepparton is the obvious next region to receive such a school, and I believe such an investment in our community will provide great opportunities for future generations of students. Our local industries are forging ahead and are crying out for workers skilled in developing high-tech industries, including the fields of agricultural automation, food and fibre production, engineering and information technology. Minister, I ask that you deliver a high-tech school and an education hub in Greater Shepparton as an important part of the Shepparton education plan.