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    Students taught by unqualified teachers

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    Students taught by unqualified teachers

    Post  Admin on Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:01 am

    Students being taught by unqualified teachers



    Students taught by unqualified teachers

    By Barbara Miller for AM



    Posted Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:00pm AEDT
    Updated Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:04pm AEDT


    The shortage was most acute in mathematics and technology. (ABC TV News - file image)

    Students across the country are increasingly being taught by teachers who are not working in their area of expertise, according to a survey by the Australian Education Union (AEU).

    The union found that in 60 per cent of secondary schools, teachers were working in fields they were not fully qualified in.

    The shortage was most acute in mathematics and technology.

    The AEU surveyed almost 1,500 school principals across the country, and almost one third of all schools reported having teachers working in subject areas they were not fully qualified in.

    In secondary schools that figure rose to almost 60 per cent.

    In Queensland and South Australia the situation was particularly acute, with more than 70 per cent of schools saying they had employed teachers to work in subject areas in which they did not have expertise.

    The president of the AEU, Angelo Gavrielatos, says a better strategy is needed to attract teachers of the right calibre.

    "What we find is an increasing use of teachers teaching outside their trained areas," he said.

    "The teacher shortage and the true extent of it is being concealed by the fact that teachers are teaching outside their subject areas.

    "We need a comprehensive plan to ensure that we can attract and retain teachers in the numbers required. For far too long governments have ignored the warning signs."

    He says despite the fact teachers have often done some teaching outside their key subject area, children should have specialist teachers in every class.

    "The use of teachers teaching outside their subject areas is just unacceptable. Every child has the right to a qualified teacher in front of his or her classroom," he said.

    Federal Education Minister Julia Gillard says the Government is working to address the shortage of properly qualified teachers.

    Ms Gillard says the Government knows there is a problem and is providing extra funding to encourage graduates to become specialist teachers.

    "We obviously can't make teachers overnight, and we inherited a school system that had been neglected for more than 10 years by the Liberal government, but our education revolution is already delivering measures to induce teachers in the maths and science fields," she said.

    Remote areas struggling
    The principal of Victor Harbor High School, Peter Crawford, has taught in many regional towns across South Australia.

    He agrees it is difficult to get qualified teachers, particularly for specialist subjects, and the situation, he says, is getting worse.

    "In my previous school we could not offer a language because we were unable to get language teachers to move to rural and remote [areas], and so we shifted all of our students to online language tuition for example, because we're unable to provide the face to face," he said.

    The president of the Australian Secondary Principals Association, Andrew Blair, says the findings from the AEU are entirely consistent with its own surveys.

    "In some cases it's quite desperate, most particularly in rural and remote areas," he said.

    "We are seeing people who are not qualified teaching in subject areas and we are also beginning to see unfortunately what we're terming 'curriculum cull' - that being, in some situations, remote and rural Australia in particular, schools have been unable to get staff so what they have done is to kill off a curriculum area.

    "So we're seeing some schools simply not teaching languages, some schools not teaching ICT, purely because the staff are not available.

    "I think there needs to be a national approach taken. No longer can we rely on state and territory solutions.

    "In short, we need to improve training, we need to improve incentives and we need to make certain that once we have teachers in our schools that they're looked after and paid appropriately."

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