“[Authorities also need to] modernize company agreements,” he said. “Improve wages, conditions and opportunities for promotion.” NSW Catholic Schools boss Dallas McInerney also backed a year-long postgraduate teaching qualification.
Prospective teachers can either study a four-year undergraduate degree, a five-year combined degree, or a master’s degree, which takes about two years. A one-year graduate degree was abolished from 2013 as part of a new national quality reform.
However, a joint submission from the Government of Tasmania and the University of Tasmania said the reform had not worked.
“Since the introduction of the longer postgraduate courses, there has been no noticeable increase in the quality of teachers or student performance,” he said.
In New South Wales, the number of students starting education degrees fell by almost a third between 2014 and 2019. About half of students starting, not finishing and 10% leaving teaching in six years after graduation.
The NSW Teachers Federation argues that the problem cannot be solved without better pay – in New South Wales, a teacher’s salary is only around $107,000 – and is campaigning for a general raise of between 5 and 7 .5%.
“The teacher shortage crisis is worsening, jeopardizing the right of every child to be taught by a qualified teacher,” said federation president Angelo Gavrielatos. “Uncompetitive salaries and crippling workloads are major barriers to attracting and retaining the teachers we need.”
Carol Matthews, acting secretary of the NSW branch of the Independent Education Union, said her survey last year showed significant shortages in rural and regional areas, and increasingly in metropolitan areas.
“For the record, right now things got worse,” she said. “I agree with the general position of the teachers’ federation that there are two main drivers – one is salary and the other is workload.”
However, Glenn Fahey of the Center for Independent Studies, who published a report titled Teaching staff: fiction versus reality this week, disagreed that widespread wage increases were the answer to the problem.
“What we have is a teacher assignment problem, not a teacher number problem,” he said. “We have enough teachers overall. But we need more math and science teachers. And we have to keep talent in the bush.
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