Teaching needs 'best, brightest'

Written By miftah nugraha on Senin, 11 Maret 2013 | 19.55

A NATIONAL plan to recruit top-class candidates to study teaching has been cautiously welcomed by Tasmania's teachers' union.

The plan, released today by Federal Education Minister Peter Garrett, would require a university interview, a literacy and numeracy test to be passed before graduation, and a review of all teaching courses in Australia. 

Australian Education Union state president Terry Polgase said requiring all students to be in the top 30 per cent for literacy and numeracy would mean some of the best potential teachers could be lost.

"Teaching is a calling, not a job," he said.

"Teachers need stickability, emotional intelligence, commitment and integrity.

"If Nicole Kidman wanted to teach drama at a school, or James Hird physical education, I doubt very much whether anyone would care whether either was in the top 30 per cent of spellers leaving year 12. If so, what a loss."

Mr Polglase welcomed parts of the federal plan, especially the interview requirement to evaluate emotional intelligence.

But he said only scholarships -- which had worked so well in past decades -- would keep good teachers in the field.

Scholarship teachers would commit to being sent to a specified school for two years. If teaching was not for them, they would pay the money back.

"We want the best and the brightest," he said.

Mr Polglase said pay was also a big factor.

"Teachers are paid too little. Almost all have degrees, many have masters qualifications, and each is highly trained, with most having many years of invaluable experience," Mr Polglase said.

He said there was also a risk of putting all the blame for standards at the feet of teachers.

"As always [governments are] trying to find a silver bullet."

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