Learning IN THE OUTBACKJul 28, 2000 Write an essay on this topic.
How does one learn living on a cattle station some five hundred plus kilometres (three
hundred miles) from the nearest school.
This is something of an issue here in Australia, particularly as regards children. The
outback is huge, and the cattle stations (farms/ranches) are likewise, many comprising
around a million acres. In some cases there is no true road access save for tracks cut into
the desert by the intermittent passage of vehicles, especially Road Trains (very long prime
movers/tractors towing up to four trailers rather than the usual one)
Access is usually by air, with all stations owning light aircraft, often including helicopters.
Therefore to educate the children poses special problems. To overcome this as well as
possible, about seventy or so years ago the "School of the Air' was formed. Children
literally sit in front of a radio for the day, while a teacher goes through the usual
curriculum. In effect, this constitutes a giant classroom, and although the children don't
see each other, they do all know their peers as a few times a year they meet face to face.
This system has worked very well for children up to Year 7, around twelve years of age.
However, it is not practical for higher years, and of course University. Therefore, to
complete high school and beyond, the children have to board in a city, which has it's
inherant problems as they don't see their parents and of course do not have any parental
However, to date no-one has suggested a better way to overcome this fairly unique
problem and personally I don't see one either. I consider it most important that the young
stay at home during their formative years and at least that goal is attained.
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