The Regional Education Support Network started as an idea.
After moving from Melbourne to Canberra for university in 2017, Jacob Wilkinson and Tiger Lin met people from all over Australia, including many regional and rural students. It became evident from early conversations that one’s year 12 was often dictated by geography; metropolitan students had a very different experience to regional and rural students.
Where metropolitan students can hire an expensive brigade of high quality tutors for their subjects, regional and rural students often find themselves persevering with those tough questions on their own. Where metropolitan students can conveniently attend revision lectures and seminars in their home cities, regional and rural students are either forced to travel long distances at great financial cost to participate in the same sessions, or more commonly, not participate in these sessions at all.
After putting their heads together, Jacob and Tiger decided that it was more than possible to set up a tutoring service for regional and rural students. It would be a volunteer service that would be free, accessible and entirely online for regional and rural students. The aim was to even the playing field for regional and rural students as they complete their final years of high school.
It was at this point that Jun Kim, Sof Hay, Hamish Webster, Hayley Doran and Lachlan Collins came on board to help transform what was an idea into a practical solution to a problem. By midway through 2018, these 7 university students formed the RESN leadership team. The team was diverse in the skills each brought to the table. Jun had strong experience in tutoring and relied on these networks to build our tutor base. Sof looked after governance and treasury related matters, especially in regard to our initial set up and continued expansion. Hamish helped establish relationships with schools and secure financial support. Hayley took care of all things design, from our marketing efforts to our website and Lachlan used his indispensable skills in IT to create and maintain the online system on which RESN's success depends.
After a successful pilot program of two schools, with over 90 students involved, the RESN team worked to expand the service to as many schools around Victoria as possible.
We now have over 1000 students from around 80 schools and are currently looking at expanding to NSW and other Australian states. The RESN volunteer team is over 100 strong and is convinced that these issues with regional education are not only limited to Victoria, but affect regional and rural high school students throughout Australia. For this reason, the RESN team will continue working hard to deliver a service that provides high quality feedback on questions and essays, boosts the confidence of users when they walk into their final exams and always remains free for regional and rural students.