Regional unis to run hard on secondary teacher training

Regional universities need to be “activist and leader” in the search for solutions to a teacher shortage

Secondary teacher education course commencements are down 8 per cent since 2014 and a shortage of teachers will be “most acutely felt” in regional, rural and remote areas. “Significant intervention is required to prevent the sector reaching a more severe crisis point,” a report for the Regional Universities Network warns.

Stephen Parker and Ian Hawke (KPMG) detail a range of issues that do not encourage school leavers, and people returning to study, to enrol in teacher education courses, including; * negative perceptions of teaching, * “media coverage” of the ATARs of school leavers enrolling in initial teacher education, and * the “general feeling” that teaching has lower prestige, reward and recognition than other professions.

“It seems most, if not all, stakeholders have an adverse view, whether broad or narrow of teaching. Many of these views have played out in the public domain, resulting in sharp criticisms and at times unhelpful policy interventions. There is no doubt that the “noise” around teaching is acting as a disincentive to school leavers, including those for whom, all other things being equal, teaching would be an attractive and long-term career options,” they warn

Parker and Hawke propose,

* ending ATARs in initial teacher education selection and developing entry measures based on individual aptitude and attributes, literacy and numeracy standards, relevant academic performance and personal interviews

* masters programmes for fields with teacher shortages could use a “job internship model”

* bringing former teachers back to the classroom

* RUN taking a leadership role in engaging with government, “and in policy reform of initial teacher education”


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