‘Union attacks plan to employ ‘unqualified’ teachers’

Australian ABC News on yet more teaching union opposition to Teach for Australia:

“The Northern Territory Education Union has slammed the Territory Government over its plans to employ people who are not qualified teachers to teach in Territory schools.

Teach for Australia is a program that began in Victoria last year and will now be introduced in the Territory.

Under it, anyone who has graduated from university in any field can apply for a position as a teacher.

The Teacher’s Registration Board recently ruled there was nothing in the Education Act to prevent people who have not had formal teaching qualifications from teaching.

In Victoria, people who take part in the program receive fortnightly visits by university tutors to check on their progress.

Matthew Cranitch from the NT branch of the Australian Education Union says there is no way that will happen in the Territory, given the remoteness of many schools.

“They will literally be thrown in the deep end,” he said.

“These schools, these remote schools, they are very hard to staff for a reason.”

Mr Cranitch described the plan as a bandaid fix.

The union says Katherine High School and Barkly College are two schools where the program may begin next year.

Education Minister Chris Burns will not say which schools are being considered, but insists it is not about a teacher shortage.

“It is all about attracting the brightest graduates, people who are very committed, as an alternative pathway to teaching in the Northern Territory and I think it’s a positive thing,” he said.

“I don’t really feel the union should be opposing it. I want to enter into constructive discussions with the union.”

Mr Burns says he believes the program is a good idea.

“This is not a blanket permission by the Teacher’s Registration Board for bulk graduates for Teach For Australia to come to the Northern Territory,” he said.

“The important thing to emphasise here is there is less than 1 per cent vacancies in the Territory.

“We are attracting quality teachers here.””


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