New standards … there will be more complex entry requirements to teacher training courses.Universities have warned they will not implement plans by the NSW government to set benchmarks for teaching courses based on HSC results, instead preferring a plan announced by the federal government today.
The Gillard government has announced new standards for teaching students, including more complex entry requirements to teacher training courses and new literacy and numeracy tests.
The move comes less than a week after the NSW government announced its own suite of reforms aimed at improving the quality of teaching, including setting minimum HSC requirements for school leavers hoping to enter teaching degrees.
The federal government has favoured a different approach, however, announcing that applicants could be screened for their suitability for teaching via methods that could include ”interviews, demonstrated values and aptitude, and a written statement”.
Universities Australia has thrown its support behind the federal plan, and said institutions in NSW will not implement any of the NSW plans which conflict with the national one.
“The significance of the federal government’s intervention shifts the responsibility for achieving teacher quality to the national arena. In effect this national plan displaces the recently announced NSW plan,” said Universities Australia’s chief executive Belinda Robinson.
“All universities will act on the basis of a national plan and NSW universities will not implement any proposals that are inconsistent with it.”
Like the state government though, the federal government is also seeking to set a new literacy and numeracy test that teaching graduates will have to pass before they can graduate.
Other aspects of the federal government plan, part of its broader National Plan for School Improvement reforms, include taking a national approach to teacher practicum and a review of Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA).
School Education Minister Peter Garrett said the changes were aimed at ensuring every teacher had the ”passion” and ”personal capacity” to be the best teacher possible.
”We are focused on raising the quality of teaching at every stage of a teacher’s career,” he said. ”Our plan will make sure that only those people who have high levels of literacy and numeracy, a dedication for teaching and a great classroom practice will graduate and enter our schools,” he said.
State and federal ministers have already agreed that teaching students should have levels of personal literacy and numeracy that are equivalent to the top 30 per per cent of the population.
Reforms announced last week by the O’Farrell government as part of its “Great Teaching, Inspired Learning” review include the literacy and numeracy test, reducing the load of new students so they can more time on professional development, requiring all teachers to be accredited with the NSW Institute of Teachers and developing processes to make it easier to remove those not meeting the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.
Comment is being sought from the NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli.
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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.