The thoughts of writer and educationalist, Victoria Birch, and

NSW Minister of Education, Adrian Piccoli.

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Writer and educationalist, Victoria Birch, explores the worrisome future of maths and science education in Australia, commenting on the ‘diminishing pool of qualified graduates’ in these subject areas.  In Australia we are faced with a cyclical dilemma whereby a shortage of quality maths and science teachers is impacting upon student engagement, interest and academic performance.  ‘Great teachers are the key to high performance and widespread enthusiasm’, and that is exactly where the current problem lies.

A recent media release by NSW’s Minister of Education, Adrian Piccoli, affirms the concerns expressed by Victoria Birch in regard to the cyclical teaching dilemma.  After a NSW teacher quality review in 2012, the Australian government has recognised teacher quality as not only a state priority, but a national priority in Australia. Mr Piccoli reflected on the desperate need to raise teaching standards in Australia, as “…teacher quality is at the core of a successful education system”. In response to these issues, the Australian Government has introduced the Great Teaching, Inspired Learning (GTIL) reforms, which are set to focus on improving teacher quality through introducing tougher entry requirements for school leavers entering teaching degrees.

“From 2016, school leavers entering teaching degrees will need to have achieved a score of 80 or higher in three HSC subjects, including English. I am very encouraged that this week all NSW vice chancellors have agreed to endorse these tougher entry requirements.”

“Teaching students will also need to pass a numeracy and literacy assessment before their final year practicum. From 2015, this will apply to all students in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching degrees.”

Whilst indeed concerns exist around the quality of Australian teaching standards, developments in technology and in particular developments in elearning are supporting both students and teachers to ensure the Australian education system remains robust. With technology booming in education, students and teachers are benefiting from interactive, real-time learning, which is resulting in increased student engagement levels. These technological developments are sparking interest in Australia’s youth, as IT savvy students are able to engage with immersive, virtual reality environments bringing science and maths to life in the classroom.   Read more here.

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