As a last resort, the Department of Education is recruiting would-be teachers from other countries who haven’t even completed their first teacher preparation programs.
In addition to recruiting experienced teachers from nations like the United Kingdom and New Zealand, the department is widening its search to include potential teachers who can complete their undergraduate studies in Western Australia. Maths, science, humanities and social sciences, and English are among the most sought-after subjects.
It comes ahead of a crisis conference on August 12 for education ministers, principals, teachers, and specialists from throughout the country, convened by incoming Federal Education Minister Jason Clare, to discuss strategies to address the nationwide teacher shortage.
Many efforts are in place to guarantee that WA public schools have enough secondary teachers, including the final year pre-service teacher project that allows students to serve as relief teachers while they are still in their final year of university.
Pat Byrne, president of the State School Teachers Union, called the plan “potentially problematic” since it might discourage prospective teachers from sticking in the field by placing them in front of students before they are ready.
She said that schools lacked the resources necessary to offer new teachers with the assistance and guidance they need.
However, the president of the WA Secondary School Executives Association, Melissa Gillett, said that she would support any plan that intended to attract new teachers.