There are encouraging signs of a renewed focus on teacher education across the country.
These build on earlier pushes for more attention to be given to teacher education, qualifications and professional development.
Call for a VDC in New South Wales
In recognition of the currently unique approach to support practitioner professional development that Victoria has established through the VET Development Centre, Community Colleges Australia’s special election issue in the lead up to New South Wales election outlined their wants for the sector in that state. Amongst other things, their platform called for the NSW Government to:
“re-establish and provide core funding to State Government-led VET teaching on a state-wide basis, through a model similar to the Victorian VET Development Centre (VDC).”
“increase of the Teaching and Leadership program funding available to the community education sector…”
This is needed to ensure that “that all Smart and Skilled training providers in that state “…develop and implement a CPD [Continuing Professional Development] policy that reflects the needs of their business but also includes, as a minimum, key staff and management (including trainers, assessors, administration officer and managers).”
Action in Victoria
“The purpose of this Guide is to provide teachers with implementation advice regarding the changes to the employment arrangements, for the first two years of the Agreement operation.”
While there is a welcome focus on induction, professional development planning and mentoring in the agreement the main area of change is to ‘up the game’ on the level of qualifications required of Victoria’s TAFE teachers. Now, it is only Level 1 teachers that will required to hold the Certificate IV TAE. At Level 2, at least an ‘approved’ AQF 5 qualification will be required, while at Level 3 or above an ‘approved’ AQF 6 qualification or above is needed. At Levels 2 and 3, there is also a requirement for 200 hours of ‘supervised practicum’ when undertaking the qualification. There are also requirements in relation to both teaching and vocational experience.
In South Australia, there is action too. A recent TAFE Directors Australia newsletter reported that, soon:
“VET practitioners in South Australia will be able to upgrade their skills under the state government’s new $1m Building Capability Framework…”
South Australia’s Minister for Industry and Skills, David Pisoni, said in a media release on 8 March this year that this program would “strengthen the capacity of teachers and trainers, as well as the assessors of apprentices and trainees.” He also said that:
“This year, a series of professional development programs will be available to support and inspire excellence, including promoting best practice in training, assessment and educational leadership.”
This program will involve a series of ongoing professional development events and interactive workshops and well as regular forums that will be used to “strengthen networks between providers, professional groups, industry and government and [will] include masterclasses [as well as] regular teaching and learning seminars.”
And, of course, you may like to look at what is being advocated in terms of VET teacher quality, education and development. Take a look at a couple of views on that this newsletter has highlighted before here and here