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Australian Current Affairs

A fifth of Australian teaching degrees will fail new government quality test


Tony MacKay

Tony MacKay

About a fifth of the 400 teaching degrees offered by universities around Australia will struggle to meet standards required for accreditation by the national teaching institute, and half of those courses are expected to close.

The chairman of the Australian Institute for Teaching School Leadership, Tony Mackay, yesterday said the new national standards for accrediting teaching courses would result in a shake-out of the programs offered by almost 50 higher education institutions.

In an interview with The Australian, Mr Mackay said the accreditation process was in its early days, but initial results suggested “as many as 20 per cent will have serious work to do and, of those that will not get up at all, I’d be very surprised if it were less than 10 per cent”.

“It’s a demanding process. There’s an application process then requiring people to do more work, you don’t immediately get through accreditation if you don’t meet the criteria,” he said.

Mr Mackay said six programs had been accredited last year, of which one had failed to meet the criteria and was since closed by the university, while a further 100 programs were slated to go through the process this year, with the aim of assessing about two-thirds of all courses offered by 2015.

The accreditation standards were approved by the nation’s education ministers in April 2011, and set the minimum requirements of what teaching students should know and be able to do, including minimum levels of literacy and numeracy skills, required hours of practical training, and minimum levels of knowledge about subjects to be taught.

AITSL is also about to start assessing the quality of instruction provided by the universities by reviewing their assessment procedures, to ensure graduating students meet the expected standard.

Mr Mackay said this information would allow prospective students and employers to differentiate the quality of the teaching courses on offer.

Mr Mackay’s comments follow a report in The Australian on Monday that at a time when federal and state governments are seeking to lift the quality of teaching in schools, and the standard of teacher training, they are spending tens of millions of dollars every year training teachers who do not enter a classroom.

The NSW Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, this month released a plan to overhaul teacher training, including restricting practical training places to student teachers with high academic standards, in a bid to redress the oversupply of teachers in most areas, and lift the quality of the profession.

The federal government also released a plan this month to improve teacher training, which will amend university funding agreements to require they work with school authorities to make sure that quality practicum places are available before they offer a place in a teaching degree.

A spokeswoman for School Education Minister Peter Garrett said teacher shortages existed in some subjects and locations, so it was important to focus on the quality of training provided rather than restricting entry to the profession.

Source: The Australian – Teaching degrees to fail test on quality
 
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