Australia: The State Government Plans To Recruit First-Year University Students To Help Alleviate The Teaching Shortage

As part of sweeping changes aimed at alleviating the nation’s acute shortage of school teachers, university students will work alongside classroom instructors as early as their sixth month of study.

NSW and Victoria will present their strategy at a gathering of education ministers from around the country next month.  Currently, many education students do not get the opportunity to teach in a classroom until their third or fourth year of study.

New South Wales Education Minister Sarah Mitchell has argued that teachers should get the same on-the-job training as medical professionals.  “Our doctors and nurses are in hospitals from their first semester (at university) and for long periods of time.” “Teaching should be no different; we need universities to work with us to achieve that change.

The state of New South Wales will employ 7400 new teachers this year, but a further 3800 teachers must be recruited over the following five years, according to Mitchell.

In rural and remote schools, even if incentives of up to $30,000 are offered, there is still a shortage of instructors.

Education policy director Glenn Fahey at the Center for Independent Studies believes that the approach will “uniquely increase the supply of teachers and increase the quality.”

Upon graduation, students who have received effective practical training, according to Mr. Fahey’s study, are just as effective as third-year instructors.

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