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Monday, 26 May 2003
Page: 14850

Mr CIOBO (1:50 PM) —I am delighted to rise to highlight one additional way the Howard government is investing in education on the Gold Coast. It was my pleasure recently to inform several of my local school principals of federal government funding to help improve the learning and social skills of schoolboys in the Nerang area. The wilderness trekking program, developed by five Gold Coast schools, has been awarded $20,000 under the Boys' Education Lighthouse Schools Program. This federal funding is one of the largest allocations in the nation. It will be shared by Gilston, Nerang, William Duncan and Worongary state schools as well as Nerang State High School.

The funding will be used to provide an opportunity for 12- to 15-year-old boys with behavioural problems or low self-esteem to trek through the Gold Coast's magic hinterland. While they are doing this, they will learn about self-discipline, teamwork and the value of education, as well as develop their social skills and peer relationships. This pilot program responds to evidence indicating that boys are falling behind in our education system. It is an absolute credit to the dedicated and caring teachers at Nerang, Gilston, Worongary and William Duncan. I applaud the `lighthouse' schools in our local area for working together on the important issue of how to achieve the best possible education outcomes for boys. I am certain the boys will love the program, and I am pleased the Howard government can help to make it happen.