As the year draws to a close for our year 12 VCE and VCAL students, I extend my best wishes for their future endeavours.

Our VCE and VCAL students are working hard, finalising their preparations for end of year exams and assessments – a time which encompasses both anxiety and excitement.

There is no doubt the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic in 2021 created a multitude of challenges for our young people.

In the face of lockdowns students, parents and teachers have been forced to tackle much of their final year of secondary education via remote learning – a concept many of us had never heard of until last year.

Over the past two years of interrupted schooling, students have found themselves switching between classroom and remote learning.

As a former secondary school maths and science teacher, I understand the value of face to face learning, where the teacher adapts and individualises lessons spontaneously alongside their students.

Learning from home, in the absence of direct interaction with teachers and peers, presents a unique set of challenges and I congratulate students for their perseverance and teachers for their professionalism.

The completion of your secondary education opens the door to the next phase and stage of life – an exciting yet sometimes daunting prospect.

I wish to extend my congratulations to all students and their families for prevailing despite the significant trials they faced over the past two years.

Our year 12 students are to be commended for their adaptability and endurance, qualities that will hold them in good stead for their upcoming exams and beyond.

Melina Bath, The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region and Shadow Assistant Minister for Education.