Minister’s decision to use university students to fill teacher shortage a desperate act’

The NSW Teachers Federation has called the Government’s decision to deploy university students into public school classrooms a desperate act.

Federation’s Deputy President Henry Rajendra said the union was totally opposed to Education Minister Sarah Mitchell’s latest program, which she outlined in an op-ed in The Australian newspaper.

This is a desperate act by a Minister under pressure to solve a teacher shortage that has occurred due to a decade of bad policy by this Government.

What more fundamental responsibility does a government have than to ensure there is a fully qualified teacher in every classroom, every day, said Mr Rajendra.

The proposal to place university students with, in some cases, just six months of formal education in a teaching degree into a classroom is wrong. It is wrong for the university students, wrong for the public school students and wrong for the profession. We absolutely object to any watering down of the qualifications necessary to become a teacher.

The lack of teachers in our schools is a result of the failure of this Government to address the causes of the shortages – uncompetitive salaries and unsustainable workloads.

Acting on these two problems is the only way to stop more teachers leaving and attract the people into the profession we need to fix the teacher shortages.

The Government has known for seven years that there was a growing shortage and, as recently as 2020, were warned about NSW running out of teachers within five years.

Its much-lauded teacher supply strategy is nothing more than a glossy brochure that recycles failed initiatives and ignores its own Department’s advice that uncompetitive wages and overwhelming workloads are turning smart young people off teaching.

Their teacher supply strategy didn’t deliver a single extra teacher into NSW public schools in the nine months following its release.

Teachers are working 60 hours a week on average and the Government has offered nothing to reduce that workload. As a result, seven out of 10 teachers are reconsidering their future in the profession because of the workload.

The Minister and her Government are failing our children and they are failing teachers.