Reframing the policy discourse: A comparative analysis of teacher preparation for rural and remote education in Australia, South Africa and Mexico




rural education, teacher education, school leadership, comparative policy analysis


The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has highlighted a ‘vicious cycle of decline’ in rural, regional and remote (RRR) regions, with significant inequalities in educational outcomes between rural and urban areas. However, interventions have not resulted in transformative or lasting improvements to education in rural contexts. This paper presents a cross-comparative country analysis of current global policy on RRR education. We used a policy analysis framework to interrogate national policy texts concerning teacher education for RRR contexts in three countries - Australia, South Africa and Mexico. A rigorous selection process of the literature yielded 17 key policy texts, which were examined for the influences, practices, language and outcomes relating to teacher education preparation for RRR locales. Findings highlighted a legacy of historical influences and a metrocentric bias in policy texts, with limited examples of assets-based education. We argue that these factors may be perpetuating the significant and persistent disadvantage in RRR education. We recommend an alternative policy discourse that recognises the productivities and potentialities of an assets-based approach within the local context, where school leaders and teachers are positioned as central change agents in RRR education.


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Author Biographies

Susan Ledger, Murdoch University

Professor Susan Ledger is Dean of Education at University of Newcastle. She has a broad experiential base in rural, remote and international school settings and university contexts.  Her research explores the intersection of international and rural education policy and practices.. She is an advocate for the teaching profession and committed to preparing graduates to teach in diverse contexts and has recently introduced simulation in initial teacher education programs to help address this.

Alfred Masinire, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Alfred Masinire, PhD, is Senior Lecturer and Head of Curriculum Division in the School of Education at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. His research focuses on rural education, as well as gender and teacher development in rural schools. At the core of his work, he maintains a strong commitment to rurality and social justice. His most recent publications are Rurality, Social Justice and Education in Sub-Saharan Africa Volume I: Theory and Practice in Schools and Rurality, Social Justice and Education in Sub-Saharan Africa Volume II Theory and Practice in Higher Education (2020, Palgrave Macmillan) co-edited with Prof Amasa P. Ndofirepi.

Miguel Angel Díaz Delgado, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico

Dr. Delgado is a researcher and professor at the Institute of Research of the University and the Education (Instituto de Investigaciones sobre la Universidad y la Educación) of the Autonomous National University of Mexico, his research interests are Educational Leadership, Principals´ training, International Education and Comparative Studies in Education, President of the Network of Research and Practice in Educational Leadership “Interelader”. 

Madeline Burgess, Murdoch University

Madeline Burgess, PhD, is a research associate at Murdoch University, whose research focuses on a broad range of topics including policy and practice in initial teacher education, pre-service professional experience, the internationalisation of the curriculum, and teaching in marginalised and disadvantaged communities.




How to Cite

Ledger, S., Masinire, A., Angel Díaz Delgado, M., & Burgess, M. (2021). Reframing the policy discourse: A comparative analysis of teacher preparation for rural and remote education in Australia, South Africa and Mexico. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 29(January - July), 82.