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Universities face sanctions if teacher training doesn’t improve: Minister

Scholarships are being offered as part of Labor's plan to address the national teacher shortage.

Scholarships are being offered as part of Labor's plan to address the national teacher shortage. Photo: Getty

Education Minister Jason Clare has warned universities could lose their accreditation to teach education courses if they fail to equip future teachers with skills they need.

The caution comes following the release of a report on how to improve the education of the next teaching generation, which was agreed to by state and territory ministers.

Mr Clare said universities losing accreditation would be the option of last resort but was still on the table.

“That’s the nuclear option, the other option is that they could get limited accreditation or conditional accreditation,” he told Sky News on Sunday.

“What these reforms are about is improving the courses they get at university, so there’s more time focused on teaching students the fundamentals.

‘They can lose their accreditation’

“We’re going to mandate that in the curriculum, and if universities don’t incorporate that into their curriculum, they can lose their accreditation.”

The report, which was released last week, found new teachers were underprepared to teach students and many were leaving the sector shortly after graduating.

Mr Clare said just half of teaching students finished their degrees, with 20 per cent quitting in their first three years in the industry.

He said the reforms outlined in the report would lead to an increase in teacher numbers to address shortfalls.

“If we can get 10 per cent more students to finish their degree that’s 3000 more teachers into the system every year,” he said.

“We’ve got a teacher shortage crisis at the moment. Part of that’s wages, part of that’s teachers being overworked.”

The minister also said schools would need to teach students how to use artificial intelligence programs such as ChatGPT, properly, given the explosion in their use.

“This is the sort of thing students are going to need to learn how to use properly. You can’t just put it away and assume students won’t use it,” he said.

“At the same time, I want to make sure students are getting the marks they deserve and can’t use it to cheat. I always want to make sure privacy is protected.”

-AAP

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