Paid practicums the way forward for the teaching profession

The NSW Teachers Federation has strongly endorsed a recommendation from the Federal Government’s Universities Accord Final Report to reduce financial hardship by introducing paid practicums for students studying teaching.

Teachers currently undertake weeks and weeks of unpaid hours, typically towards the end of their courses to complete their practicums to qualify as a teacher.

The requirement deters many from completing or even undertaking a teaching degree, particularly impacting on mid-career professionals as students.

The 47 recommendations of the Universities Accord Final Report includes a call that “the Australian Government work with tertiary education providers, state and territory governments, industry, business and unions to introduce financial support.”

Amber Flohm, NSW Teachers Federation Deputy President, said the reform was long overdue.

“This is a key reform needed to help assist in addressing the teacher shortage,” Flohm said. “Nobody should endure poverty and financial hardship to qualify for a profession like teaching, which has such profound social purpose.

“The Teachers Federation has long argued for paid practicums both because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it makes so much sense. If we want to attract people to the profession we need to minimise the financial barriers to entry. “This is a strong and sensible recommendation that has the full support from the NSW Teachers Federation.”