The Bundaberg Region (Queensland) has long been acknowledged as one of the most disadvantaged communities in Australia. Educational disengagement is likely a major contributor behind this intergenerational transmission of disadvantage. The region has an alarmingly high education attrition rate compared to the state average. Thus, a significant proportion of young people in the Bundaberg Region are at risk of long-term disadvantages, such as unemployment, welfare dependency, poor physical and mental health, criminality, and substance abuse. Although these consequences are well documented, the risk and protective factors associated with youth educational disengagement are poorly understood. Further, few studies have focused on this issue in regional and rural settings.
To address these gaps, the present study aims to gain a better understanding of the complex factors that either disrupt or promote youth educational disengagement by using the Bundaberg Region as a case study of regional and rural Australia. It also aims to collect data to inform the evaluation and development of community-driven initiatives that encourage educational engagement among regional and rural youth. An exploratory sequential mixed methods approach will be used to capture both the prospective and retrospective accounts of educational disengagement. This will include interviews with parent-adolescent dyads, focus groups with community members and a large-scale school-based survey with primary school children.
Supervisors: Dr Cassandra Dittman and Dr Lisa Lole