IN five years there will be a severe teachers’ shortage according to Kinross Wolaroi School principal Brian Kennelly, yet he supports the education reforms introduced by the state government to increase the entry score requirements for teaching at university.
The reforms mean 70 per cent of students studying teaching today would not meet the minimum requirements.
The requirements state a student must achieve 80 per cent or higher in three Higher School Certificate subjects, one of which must be English.
Mr Kennelly said the current generation of teachers were mostly aged 50 years and over and when they retired there would not be enough graduates to fill the positions.
“Statistics say that over the last 10 years or so there has been a gradual decline in the requirements to get into teaching at university,” he said.
“It’s a good move to improve these scores and it doesn’t mean to say it’s not an unreachable target.
“Plenty of students don’t get into the course they want to straight up but they can take another course to meet the requirements to transfer.”
Mr Kennelly said there would have to be big incentives introduced by the government to encourage people to take up teaching, such as cadetships or discounted HECS fees.
Charles Sturt University executive dean of education professor Toni Downes said regional students might be disadvantaged by the changes.
“Being from a rural area, the minister knows that many of the best and brightest in rural and regional areas won’t achieve the same HSC marks as city kids,” she said.
“This isn’t because they are less capable but because they don’t have access to the same subjects and facilities.”
Dr Downes said she had questions for the government about how they would encourage students to study teaching.
“Such students are currently planning to study in disciplines like dentistry, pharmacy, architecture, law and engineering, so there will need to be a big change in the pay and conditions of teachers to compete for these high-performing students,” she said.