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No-degree teacher training experiments on students, Australian Education Union says

Posted by On 12:36 AM

No-degree teacher training experiments on students, Australian Education Union says

Australian education No-degree teacher training experiments on students, Australian Education Union says

Plan to allow ‘high-achieving’ people without university degrees to teach condemned

Group of children in a school hall
Federal education minister Simon Birmingham has announced a high-achieving teachers program to provide ‘new and diverse pathways into teaching’. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

The Australian Education Union has accused the Turnbull government of using students as an “experiment”, after tender documents revealed a new government program could allow peo ple without university degrees to teach in classrooms.

For the last federal budget the education minister, Simon Birmingham, announced a new “high-achieving teachers program” as a way of providing “new and diverse pathways into teaching”.

The program is essentially a spin-off of the existing Teach for Australia program, which has been running since 2009. Until now the $77m program has been run exclusively by Teach for Australia, but the government has opened the new high-achieving teachers program to bids from other private tenderers.

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But unlike Teach for Australia â€" which accepts university graduates with non-teaching degrees, such as science, maths and arts degrees, the high-achieving teachers program doesn’t stipulate that applicants must have a degree.

Instead, tender documents state the purpose of the program is to provide an employment-based pathway into teaching for people with “professional or academic experience gained outside of teaching”.

According to the terms of the tender, applicants would be selected “based on an assessment of their potential to become high-quality teachers”, as well as their ability to address a specific teacher workforce challenge and their “commitment to the teaching profession”.

It could allow private providers tasked with delivering the program to design an accreditation scheme for people without university degrees.

The providers would have to meet state and territory requirements before placing applicants in schools.

But the union fears the wording of the tender means the program will open the door for those without university qualifications.

The AEU’s federal president Correna Haythorpe said it was proof the minister “doesn’t value the work of qualified teachers” and accused the government of using students as a “teaching experiment”.

“Minister Birmingham thinks anybody can be a teacher, with no formal qualifications, via one of these private-sector alternate pathways to teaching programs,” she said.

“However nothing could be further from the truth. Teaching is a challenging profession requiring specialised training and experience. Putting unqualified teachers in front of a class of students would have devastating consequences for a child’s education.”

The program is the latest flashpoint in an ongoing stoush between the government and teachers union over teacher qualifications.

The government has made no secret of its ambitions to increase the number of teachers without a background in education, particularly in Stem subjects, and Birmingham told Guardian Australia the program was about “attracting people with the skills, knowledge and commitment to become high-quality teachers”.

“We know that teacher quality is the single larges t in-school influence on student performance, which is why we want to support alternative pathways into the teaching workforce for high achievers from other fields,” he said.

“In particular, we want to attract people with experience and qualifications from a range of industries to help pass on those skills to future generations and perhaps even spark their interest in different fields.

“The people in this program … will be qualified to work as teachers and ultimately support the education needs of students in areas where there may be shortages of educators.”

In February the government announced it had commissioned a national review of teacher registration with a view to making it easier for people from other professions to become teachers. At the time Birmingham said he wanted to make it easier for people with “real-world skills”, such as tradies or nurses, to become teachers.

The Teach for Australia program has itself been the subject of cr iticism. Last year a government-commissioned evaluation of the program found that Teach for Australia associates “outperform other early-career teachers” against professional standard measures.

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But it also raised concerns about attrition rates and the placement of teachers.

The Teach for Australia program is designed to place graduates in socially disadvantaged schools, or schools struggling to find staff.

But the evaluation report found that 13% of its associates worked in schools above the national disadvantage median, and that three years after the placement had finished, less than 50% of graduates were still teaching. Only 30% of those left were in schools below the national disadvantage median.

Haythorpe said attracting teachers from areas such as science and maths required “a concerted strategy to improve the recruitment and retention of teach ers across all curriculum areas”.

Topics
  • Australian education
  • Simon Birmingham
  • Australian universities
  • Teacher training
  • news
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Source: Google Australia | Netizen 24 Australia

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