Cuts to teaching qualifications will hurt quality of teaching

The Education Ministers’ recently announced feasibility study investigating a one-year education Master’s degree is an attack on the qualifications of the teaching profession, according to the Australian Education Union Victorian Branch.

AEU Victorian Branch President, Meredith Peace said the announcement was short-sighted, would do little to address the teacher shortage and leave new graduates with inadequate preparation for the classroom.

“Fifty years ago, teacher unions in Victoria fought hard to ensure only qualified people were employed as teachers. Students today deserve nothing less,” Ms Peace said.

“The AEU is extremely disappointed that Victorian Education Minister Natalie Hutchins would agree to any measure that would put the quality of teaching and learning across Victorian schools at risk.

“The Victorian Government and Minister Hutchins must reject any moves to cut the current requirements for teacher qualifications.

“Teaching is complex work, and we must ensure initial teacher education students are able to gain the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to enter the classroom, ready to teach. A reduction in the current requirement for a two-year Master’s qualification will put this at risk, and undermine the capabilities of graduates entering schools.

“The National Teacher Workforce Shortage Action Plan, agreed by all states and territories and the Commonwealth in December 2022, was developed through a consultative process and set out the areas to be addressed to tackle the workforce crisis. A one-year Master’s degree was not part of this plan.

“Right now, Minister Hutchins and Premier Andrews can act to secure the future of the Victorian teaching workforce through retention payments and ongoing workload relief for current employees, investment in paid practicum placements and studentships for initial teacher education students, fully funded early career teacher support and mentoring programs, and secure ongoing employment. 

“The AEU’s 10 Year Plan for Staffing Public Education outlines a range of essential measures to ensure every student is taught by a properly qualified and well supported teacher now and in the medium and long term. 

“Delivering these measures also relies on ensuring that Victorian public students are fully funded to 100% of the Schooling Resource Standard through a new National School Reform Agreement with the Federal government.”

Media contact; Mayank Gurnani, 0414 463 827

1 March 2023