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Teacher shortage: Minister in denial.

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Media Release Jenny MacklinMP

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Shadow Minister for Employment, Education, Training & Science Federal Member for Jagajaga


Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson today showed he was in denial about the looming teacher shortage in Australian schools.

In Question Time today the Minister claimed there was no shortage of school teachers in Australia, yet the Ministerial Council on Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs, of which Dr Nelson is a member, has set up a taskforce to examine the issue of future teacher supply.

The Minister’s own department has identified shortages of teachers in particular areas and disciplines such as science, mathematics and information technology and a decline in the number of male teachers, particularly in primary teaching.

And the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations includes secondary teachers on its National Skill Shortage List.

Deputy Labor leader Jenny Macklin said the teacher workforce was ageing rapidly and more than 100,000 current teachers were due to retire in the next 10 years.

The Australian Council of Deans of Education estimates that there will be a national shortage of more than 7000 teachers by 2005.

“It takes four years to train a teacher. To protect the education of our children we should be training more teachers now. Instead, since 1997, 30,000 aspiring teachers have been denied a training place because of massive Howard Government cuts to university funding,” Ms Macklin said.

“The Howard Government should be investing now in the education of more teachers, rather than ignoring the problem and leaving it to future governments to fix.”

More information: Adrian Rollins, 0438 950 375