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Thursday, 9 December 1965


Mr REYNOLDS (Barton) .- I think the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) has done the House a service in directing attention to the possible lines of expansion of the Australian National University. I was particularly taken by his suggestion that faculties of education, dentistry and medicine be established at the university. Within the last week or two. nearly all the metropolitan newspapers in Australia have reported the imposition of even more harsh quotas for various undergraduate faculties in State universities. I notice particularly an outcry by education authorities and teacher organisations in Melbourne about the restricted entry of potential teacher trainees into the faculty of education at one of the Melbourne universities. I am also vividly aware of representations that have reached each of us from Papua and New Guinea. We have been told that the Commonwealth has ascertained that at least 500 additional teachers-I think secondary teachers - will be needed in Papua and New Guinea over the next few years. Of course, nothing like this number is in sight.

This is a matter of great concern, because in a developing country like the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, the provision of education facilities is fundamental to any social, economic or political development. As the honorable member for Fremantle said, it is a poor and sad state of affairs that, in providing teachers for the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, for the Northern Territory, for Norfolk Island and for various other places tint come within the Commonwealth's responsibility, we must draw upon the already strained resources of the States. The New South Wales Department of Education supplies teachers for Norfolk Island and the South Australian department supplies teachers for the Northern Territory. Papua and New Guinea gets them where it can, and, as I say, it is very sorely tried at this stage. I do not suggest that just the lack of available teachers is the whole story. We are told by representatives from the

Territory of Papua and New Guinea that teachers, like other public servants there, have had very little assurance about the continuity of their service in the teaching profession, if the Territory should at a future date become self governing. The teachers want to be assured by supplement of salary and by guarantee that they will be absorbed into one of the State teaching services should their term of engagement in the Territory expire.

This highlights the need for a national teaching body. It has been suggested that the teachers who are trained in the Territory and teachers who migrate there to serve for a period would be reassured if they knew that they would be given the opportunity to join a national teaching service conducted by the Australian National University or by a national teachers college that was in some way affiliated with the university. Some time ago, I read a stimulating article which suggested that a national training authority established in Canberra could also be a servicing agent for many of the near Asian countries. Probably the most effective form of aid that we can give to these countries is to help train teachers for their services and to encourage some of our own teachers to serve in the Asian countries. This would be a most effective way of spreading our culture to them. It would also help us to know their problems and their outlook at close quarters and in a more realistic way.

The suggestion of the honorable member for Fremantle that a faculty of education be established at the A.N.U. has much to commend it. Apart from anything else, there is a dire need in the Australian Capital Territory, as well as in other Territories, for properly trained teachers for the private systems of education. We are at present making various kinds of provision for library facilities, science laboratories and other forms of aid in the way of capital construction costs, interest payments on loans and so on. But probably the real crux of the problem in the long run is the supply of adequately trained professional teachers, and in this regard the Commonwealth seems to shun responsibility like the proverbial plague. The Commonwealth Government was not prepared to accept the Martin Committee's very strong recommendation for the establishment of boards of teacher education in the various States, subsidised by the Commonwealth, and for the provision of untied scholarships financed by the Commonwealth. The Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) said on behalf of the Commonwealth at the time that he thought this was well within the competence of the States, that they knew their own educational requirements and that the matter of providing for boards of teacher education would not be costly.

Only yesterday we had the new Minister for Education and Minister for Science in New South Wales having to announce that there will be a curtailment of about £4 million in school building construction over the next year or two. This does not look like a State-







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