OUR SAY: Free degrees, false hope for the future
A FREE teaching degree in exchange for going out bush sounds very lucrative, but it's never going to improve our education standards.
It's obvious policy makers haven't spoken to non-permanent staff in NSW schools, otherwise they wouldn't be hanging this idea on the well-worn teacher shortage furphy.
Let's look at the figures. In 2015, there were approximately 96,000 registered teachers in NSW. Of that number, 47,000 of them were seeking permanent employment. On average, the Department appoints around 2,200 new permanent teachers each year. That leaves 44,800 left without stable employment. Now add the estimated 7,000 university graduates who enter the system annually. Not only have we returned to the original 47,000 figure, we've added another 4,800 casual and temporary staff seeking permanent employment.
After seeing these numbers, do we honestly think clogging the system even further with more graduates will solve our teaching standards problem?
This latest incentive is another slap in the face for talented temporary and casual teaching staff who are already jumping at every chance for a permanent position.
Of the hundreds of teachers state-wide I have spoken with about this issue, almost all of them have been willing to go out bush since day one. But the jobs simply aren't there. One mathematics teacher proved this point by moving out west to fill the supposed mathematics shortage. After two years and zero offers, she gave up and moved back to the coast.
As a former teacher myself, I applied for countless jobs in every corner of NSW only to discover there were more than 200 applicants. I had no chance.
Casual and temporary staff work excruciatingly hard in their roles only to be repeatedly abused and let down by a system that doesn't want to acknowledge their talents. So, if policy makers want to improve our education standards, they need to start listening to these often-overlooked staff.