How would you feel about sending your children to a school whose teachers hadn’t learnt how to teach? Chances are that you would be appalled by such a prospect – and rightly so. It’s unthinkable that we would risk a child’s future with unqualified teachers.

And yet this is what we do with our nation’s university students.

While university students amass significant HELP/HECS debts through federal loans to attend university, they are paying to be educated by academics who often have neither teacher training nor a teaching qualification. Surely a country as rich as Australia is, and as dedicated to world class education standards as we purport to be, can improve the teaching and learning knowledge and skills of academics?

To do this, we need federal legislation and federal funding to support the necessary programs. Academics are both time poor and strategic. While academics continue to perceive that career advancement is dependent on research success, they will spend little to no time completing teacher training or qualifications, unless required to do so.

The federal government needs to legislate that university teachers require a qualification just as qualifications are required to teach in early childhood, primary, secondary and vocational education. Then they need to fund both the programs and the time required to complete the qualifications, especially for sessional staff who make up the vast majority of our higher education teachers.

Adjunct Associate Professor Kym Fraser, Swinburne University of Technology

2016 National Teaching Fellow

ALTF 2019 Legacy Report here


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