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Dawkins launches national project to restructure teaching profession

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E mployment E ducation & T raining T H E H O N . J O H N D A W K I N S M . P .

I A ·

19 February 1991


A special national project to restructure the teaching profession, deal w ith low teacher m orale an a im prove the quality of teaching and learning w as launched in Canberra today by John Dawkins, the M inister for Employm ent, Education

and Training.

The N ational Project on the Q uality of Teaching and Learning w as proposed by M r Dawkins in the lead-up to last year's Federal election as an essential part of micro-economic reform.

The Project will for the first time bring teacher unions, State and non-governm ent school employers and the Federal Governm ent into the one forum to jointly w ork on key policy and procedural issues across the nation.

'W e need,' said M r Dawkins, 'to find ways of im proving the status of teaching as a profession and of enhancing the quality of teaching in the classroom. Such im provem ent m ust be sought so that schools can efficiently and effectively get on w ith the job o f educating our children and young people.'

'There is a sw ag of unresolved quality issues in teaching, such as non-recognition of qualifications across the States, poor career structure, differences in training and the lack of regular appraisal of teacher perform ance,' said M r Dawkins.

'The willingness of all groups to take part in this process is recognition that it is about time that these issues are resolved.'

M r Dawkins said that w ith three million students, 210,000 teachers and about $10 billion a year involved in the nation's schools, there w as a pressing need to im prove the efficiency of teaching and learning.

'A ll parties agree that w e m ust stem the drift of some of our best teachers aw ay from the classrooms, attract top-quality graduates to teaching and speed up the pace of micro-economic reform in education by dealing w ith aw ard



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The N ational Project is the first time that teachers, through their unions, employers, both governm ent and non-government, and the Federal G overnm ent have had the chance together to tackle the problem s facing the teaching profession and translate these into concrete reforms.

The N ational Project comprises 24 representatives of the parties involved in teaching. The Project will im m ediately begin w ork to reform teacher career paths and at the same time deal w ith industrial and quality issues.

'W e cannot afford as a nation to have this timely opportunity for reform slip a w a y / said M r Dawkins.

T h e re has been a renaissance in public concern for and interest in our schools and the quality of education our children are receiving/

'W e cannot w alk aw ay from the fact that teacher m orale is distressingly low and that teaching is becoming a profession w hich one enters as a last resort an d leaves at the earliest opportunity.'

The M inister said that to keep our best teachers in the classroom w e have to p u t aside Federal-State bickering and step around adversarial industrial relations.

'The N ational Project on the Quality of Teaching and Learning has the scope to change how teachers them selves are educated and re-educated, how they w ork and how they are recognised and rew arded.'

M r Dawkins said the Project w as expected to address such issues as:

. teacher career paths, the nature of teachers' work, the rew ard they receive for this w ork and the qualifications and responsibilities of Advanced Skill Teachers;

. teacher mobility, recognition of qualification across the States and Territories and betw een school systems and the portability of entitlements, such as superannuation, leave, etc.;

. teacher education, including initial training and preparation, ongoing and in-service training and accreditation and consideration of appraisal to m ake sure teacher education is relevant;

. supply and dem and, including the status of the profession to make sure that there is an adequate supply of high quality teachers.

Ί think all parties involved in schooling and the teaching profession realise that the status and quality of our teachers and the standard of learning has a huge impact on A ustralia's developm ent as a technology-based, culturally rich, socially cohesive and intellectually challenging m odern nation.'

'The N ational Project on the Q uality of Teaching and Learning provides teachers, their em ployers and governm ents w ith a real opportunity to recognise and resolve the m any issues confronting school education across our separate state, territory and non-governm ent school system s,' M r Dawkins said.

The M inister said the Project also provides a unique forum to w ork out w ays to provide teachers w ith a m ore satisfying professional profile, or retaining a n a enriching the best classroom teachers and of reviewing the structures w hich currently operate in A ustralian school education.

Enquiries: W ayne Burns M r D aw kins' Media A dviser

Phone: (06) 277 7460