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Clearing the way for more male primary teachers.



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Joint Media Release

MINISTER FOR EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TRAINING ATTORNEY-GENERAL THE HON DR BRENDAN NELSON MP THE HON PHILIP RUDDOCK MP

CLEARING THE WAY FOR MORE MALE PRIMARY TEACHERS

9 March, 2004

Legislation will be introduced into the Australian Parliament tomorrow to amend the Sex Discrimination Act to address the critical issue of attracting more men into teaching - particularly primary school teaching.

In 1992 25.8% of primary school teachers were men. The figure today is 20%.

Of the 22,915 students who are currently training to be primary teachers only 18.8% are men.

The situation is even more pronounced in early childhood training. Of the 7,115 students enrolled in early childhood Teacher education courses only 254 - or 3.6% - are male.

The Sex Discrimination Amendment (Teaching Profession) Bill 2004 is a sensible and important initiative to address a significant problem in Australian education, namely, the shortage of male teachers and of male role models for boys in schools.

The Government believes that bringing into balance the number of male and female teachers in the profession is important in providing students with both male and female role models in schools.

The Bill facilitates that by permitting the offering of scholarships for persons of a particular gender in respect of participation in a teaching course, but only in those situations where the purpose is to redress a gender imbalance in teaching.

This move represents another element to the suite of Howard Government initiatives to improve the education of boys. Other initiatives include the $5.3 million Boys Lighthouse

Schools Programme, support for a mentoring project for male teachers and a review of the Gender Equity Framework for schools.

Media contact: Dr Nelson’s Office: Ross Hampton 0419 484 095 Philip Ruddock’s Office: Steve Ingram 0419 278 715