Secondary Teacher Education in RRR Australia A Profession with a Crisis to Remedy

The Secondary Teacher Education: A View from the Regions report, prepared by KPMG for the Regional Universities Network (RUN), shows that the existing shortage of secondary teachers in regional, rural and remote (RRR) Australia is about to get worse, and policy interventions are urgently required to address the situation.

The Chair of RUN, Professor Helen Bartlett, said that graduation rates and commencing enrolments for secondary teacher education students are in decline, more acutely at regional universities than elsewhere, and are likely to worsen.

“RRR areas of Queensland, NSW and Victoria are already experiencing acute shortages in STEM and language disciplines, and an insufficient number of teacher education students are coming through the pipeline” Professor Bartlett said.

“At a time when schooling systems are growing in NSW, Victoria and Qld, negative perceptions around the teaching profession have added to the declining interest in studying teacher education. Perceptions of declining prestige, recognition and future career prospects, and a focus on ATARs, have all been detrimental.

“The report recommends that policy leadership, student attraction, curriculum innovation, and re-engaging the dormant workforce are ways to address the crisis” Professor Bartlett said.

“Consistent with the National Regional, Rural and Remote (RRR) Tertiary Education Strategy’s recommendations to support a focus on RRR education, RUN recommends that the issue of teaching workforce is addressed by COAG to ensure a unified policy solution. Priority areas for COAG’s attention would include: encouraging student uptake of teacher education; addressing the shortage of specialist teachers; and reconceptualising admission standards for teacher education programs.”

A summary of the report’s key findings and recommendations are attached. The report is available at http://www.run.edu.au/cb_pages/publications.php

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