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Labor offers $40K sweetener to enter this workforce

Lucy Dean
Tanya Plibersek. Images: Getty
Tanya Plibersek. Images: Getty

The Labor party has pledged to give Australia’s “best and brightest” $40,000 to study this profession.

What is it? Teaching.

Under the program, year 12 students scoring top marks and those excelling in university or the workforce will be able to compete for up to 1,000 cash bursaries each year.

The bursaries will be for $10,000 a year and will be paid over the duration of a teaching degree or up to four years, deputy leader of the opposition, Tanya Plibersek said today.

“We want people competing to get into teaching in the same way they compete to get into medicine. We want Australians with a track record of achievement, motivation, and capability to teach the next generation,” she said.

“A career in teaching should be a first choice, not a fallback.”

But students will need to maintain their high marks to continue receiving the funds, and graduates are expected to work in public schools for up to four years, depending on how long they received the bursary.

This push comes as both major parties gear up for an election early this year.

Earlier this year, Labor suggested putting caps on teaching degree numbers to boost the academic quality of students in teaching degrees.

A report from the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership found more students with ATARs (Australian Tertiary Admission Ranks) in the lowest bands were being admitted than students with other bands, and the proportion of students with ATARs 70 or lower has also increased in the last decade.

This has happened at the same time as students entering with the highest scores decreased.

Plibersek also told the Sydney Morning Herald that increasing the prestige of teaching to be on par with medicine or law requires reexamining wages.

Teaching pay for new teachers is relatively high, but doesn’t scale well.

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