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The Ongoing Debate on Teacher Shortage and Planning for the Future

Posted on 10 March 2018
The Ongoing Debate on Teacher Shortage and Planning for the Future

It is significant that the issue of Teacher Shortage and provision of Teacher Training for the Future was raised on a number of occaisions at the recent CaSPA Board Meeting in Canberra.  

One perspective on this is offered in a recent article in the NCEC News:

Five year study blamed for drop in teacher training enrolments

Australian school leavers are shunning a career in teaching sparking concerns of a teacher shortage at a time when thousands of extra students are cramming into classrooms each year.

Australian Catholic University vice-chancellor Professor Greg Craven said teaching enrolments had plunged 20 per cent in Queensland, NSW and Victoria in 2018.

"We'll be importing teachers from overseas,'' he told The Sunday Mail.

Prof Craven said the five-year degree for specialist teachers was turning science and maths graduates off a classroom career.

Enrolments in teaching courses at James Cook University have fallen 22 per cent this year, with dean of education Nola Alloway blaming "new entry requirements''.

"There is an upside for our students there will be even stronger job prospects when they graduate,'' said Ms Alloway.

At Griffith University, which fast-tracks students through a degree in three and a half years, enrolments rose 14 per cent.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the literacy and numeracy test was vital to "ensure universities aren't sending unprepared students into the workforce''.

"A good teacher can transform a student's life but a teacher without the right skills can also have a lasting impact, for the worse,'' said Senator Birmingham.

The CaSPA Board notes that while there has been the recent TEMAG enquiry and while those conducting Teacher Training have a variety of views as indicated in the article above, the fact remains that there is not a comprephensive data set available on the following key metrics:

  • the number who begin teacher training
  • the retention rate of those who undertake teacher training courses
  • the employment rate of those who graduate from teacher training courses
  • the retention rates within teaching of those who begin working as teachers

While these are broad categories it would be naturally of advantage to have breakdowns for areas that are hard to staff such as:

  • STEM
  • Languages other than English

Our discussion with groups such as AITSL or the Federal Department of Education reveal that while there is interest in gaining such data, universities appear to be reluctant to provide this information...  For the average CaSPA Principal the level of compliance could not be greater in accounting for every single student enrolled and for providing information regarding retention of students.

Why are universities treated differently on such a critical matter as key data for Workforce Planning?

Tags: TEMAG Catholic Secondary Principals Australia

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