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Teacher Shortage Crisis Needs Urgent Attention

By June 23, 2023No Comments

On Thursday in Parliament, Independent Member for Clark, Kristie Johnston, asked the Minister for Education, Roger Jaensch, how he plans to address the current teacher shortage crisis which leaves Tasmanian students at real risk of falling further behind with their learning and development.

In recent budget estimates, it was reported that there are over 80 teaching vacancies in Tasmanian schools and colleges and a 35 percent increase in teacher resignations to March this year.

“Our teachers are an amazing group of dedicated, caring and committed professionals, who should be supported, heard and appreciated.  The current situation is leaving our already overworked educators to plug the holes, cover classes and facilitate programs the best they can”, Ms Johnston said.

“Unfortunately this creates a cycle where existing educators are either burning out or walking away, and it’s our children who are missing out on the quality education they deserve.”

“Montrose Bay High school for example is currently between five and six teachers short which means a third of students do not have a fully staffed program.  Tasmania already has the worst literacy rate in the country and it is vital this issue is addressed urgently,” Ms Johnston said.

In response, Education Minister, Roger Jaensch, outlined a number of Government initiatives designed to recruit and retain teachers in Tasmania, however he reiterated that shortages are not unique to Tasmania, but affect the education sector and many other workforces nationally.

Australian Education Union Tasmania President, Mr David Genford, said that it was disappointing Minister Jaensch feels that vacancies in the education workforce are acceptable and he simply can’t hide behind the fact that this national problem;

“Other states are demonstrating stronger incentives to recruit and retain educators, and while we sit on our hands, our best and brightest teachers will choose to leave Tasmania, leaving even more vacancies than ever before,” Mr Genford said.

“It’s disappointing the Minister chose not to outline how a school like Montrose High is going to be supported and Ms Johnston’s question highlights the real concern for the staff at the school who are currently going above and beyond.”

“The Minister was unable to provide any hope or light at the end of the tunnel that this extra work will end soon and he cannot allow the future of these students to be put in the too hard basket,” Mr Genford said.

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