With Victoria expecting 115,000 additional student enrolments in the next five years, the state government is scrambling to secure more teachers.
The government recently launched a campaign targeting school leavers to consider education as a university course preference or as an alternative.
“There’s never been a better time to think about a career as a teacher, with the opportunity to make a huge difference to the lives of the next generation of Victorians,” Victoria’s Education Minister James Merlino said.
“As we continue to build the Education State, we’re increasing the supply of high-quality teachers for Victoria’s schools, to ensure every student, regardless of where they live, has excellent teachers in their classrooms.”
Like other states, Victoria is in the midst of an infrastructure rollout, with the intention to build 100 new schools by 2026. The state government has so far spent $6.1bn for the project.
In October, Victoria also said it would be offering cash incentives of up to $50,000 to entice teachers to fill hard-to-staf schools across the state – especially in rural and regional schools.
Educators in Victoria have been promised $244.6m worth of resources in a bid to improve teaching quality.
Quality over quantity
Professor Lindy-Anna Abawi, who co-leads University of Southern Queensland’s School of Education, said during the University’s Education Summit on 29 November that there should be better selection and preparation for pre-service teachers.
This is especially important in order to attract and retain teachers who are located in remote, rural and regional schools, she said.
“New teachers must be clearly taught the challenges and opportunities of regional service, non-metro students must be supported as they move into higher education, and regional communities themselves must innovate their approach to local schooling,” Professor Abawi said.
“What is clear is that all students have a right to a high-quality education and equity of opportunity to learn and succeed.”
Professor Abawi added that to ensure the quality of teachers, the education sector should reach out and work with the broader community.
The University’s School of Education, meanwhile, is seeking to “develop rich partnerships to more effectively prepare pre-service teachers for diverse placements, and plan better ways to work with communitie sto establish sustainable rural education pathways.”