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Thursday, 24 August 1972
Page: 378

Senator DAVIDSON (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science. I ask: Has the Minister noted the comments made in Canberra yesterday by His Excellency the Governor-General in which he said, among other things, that he had noticed a weakening of the discipline of learning in the academic sphere and that the discipline of learning involved a dedication to the task of learning? As the discipline of learning also carries with it references to teaching, I ask: Has the Minister observed the recommendation in the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts on teacher education that refers to attention, aptitude, temperament and desire? Is the Minister aware that the Committee recommended some Commonwealth research into the methods of screening applicants for teaching positions? Can he advise whether there has been any Government response to this recommendation?

Senator WRIGHT (TASMANIA) (Minister for Works) - I am obliged to the honourable senator for directing attention to the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts on teacher education. I recall that reference was made in it to the desirability for institutions accepting applications for teacher training to consider the aptitude of the applicants. I carried with me into the chamber the education statistics that are such a notable achievement of this Government, In regard to teacher education, I remind the Senate that in 1970 the full time teacher education enrolment in colleges of advanced education numbered 1,068, that by 1973 it is estimated that the full time enrolments will exceed 2,500 and that since 1968 the number of teacher trainees in Government schools has increased from 29,000 to 42,000. I think it is a necessary corollary of that fact that teacher education is being guided as much as possible into colleges of advanced education at the present time although of course many teacher institutions will continue to exist for their exclusive function of teacher training. With this emphasis upon teacher training, I think it is almost inevitable that the good sense of the report of the Senate Committee that has been referred to will make an increasing impact. I am not aware that the Government has given any specific allocation of funds for research into this matter, although, as the Senate knows, the funds made available to the States by the Commonwealth and the direct expenditure by the Commonwealth on education afford ample opportunity for the States to institute this research if necessary.

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