NEWS: Proposed education reforms spark unrest

Posted March 8, 2013, by Molly Wiltshire-Bridle

Universities have expressed serious concern over the government’s proposed new HSC benchmarks for teachers, claiming that they undermine their independence and act as a poor measure of students’ potential to succeed.

Under the new reforms, 70 per cent of school leavers accepted into teaching degrees this year would not meet the O’Farrell government’s entry requirements, which would include achieving at least Band 5 – or results over 80 per cent – in a minimum of three subjects, including English.

‘Universities are autonomous, self-governing institutions’, Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson told The Sydney Morning Herald. ‘This action significantly and seriously undermines the independence of universities’.

Premier Barry O’Farrell announced the NSW government’s plan to overhaul ATAR cut-offs and other entry requirements on Thursday, claiming that the intention will be to raise standards and encourage more people to enter the profession.

Education Minister Adrian Piccoli described the plans as the ‘most significant reforms around quality teaching ever undertaken in Australia by any jurisdiction’.

But universities have hit back, arguing that the stricter benchmark could lead to a teacher shortage.

‘Introducing entry requirements such as this ignore the well-documented fact that input measures are very poor predictors of graduate success and teacher quality’, Robinson told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Robinson says it is probable that many universities, particularly those in regional areas, will witness a drop in enrolments in the wake of any tightening of entry requirements.

‘The way to lift prestige would be to really address the serious issue of remuneration’, she said.

Where do you stand? Are you considering undertaking an education qualification, and now worry that you won’t make the cut? Let us know.

Molly Wiltshire-Bridle

AIM Business School
All Health Training
Australasian College of Health and Wellness
Australian College of Physical Education
Australian Institute of Business
Australian Institute of ICT
Australian Institute of Management Education and Training
Australian Institute of Personal Trainers
Builders Academy Australia
Building and Construction Training Australia
College Australia
College for Adult Learning
Deakin University
Ducere Global Business School
Edith Cowan University Online
Endeavour College of Natural Health
Foundation Education
Griffith University
Hammond Institute
Industry Skills Training
James Cook University Online
La Trobe University
La Trobe University Online (Delivered by Didasko)
MCI Institute
Mentor Education
Monarch Institute
Nepean Industry Edge Training
Onfit Training College
Open Colleges
RMIT Online
The Hotel School
TrainSmart Australia
UNE Partnerships
University of Adelaide
UNSW Online
UTS Online
Victoria University Online
Torrens University
University of East London
University of Mauritius
University of New England
University of Wales Trinity Saint David
Integrated Care & Management Training (ICMT)
Open Colleges School of Health
HTMi Australia
Southern Cross University