Education crisis meeting a critical test for Minister Jaensch’s commitment to student learning

Friday’s emergency national education roundtable will be a failure for Education Minister Roger Jaensch unless immediate solutions are found for Tasmania’s excessive teacher workloads and uncompetitive pay driving teacher shortages.

The meeting of state and federal education ministers will attempt to address the national teacher shortage amid calls for longer school placements, reduced workloads and collaboration between government, schools and unions in tackling the problem.

The Australian Education Union Tasmania Branch calls on Minister Jaensch to take a stand for Tasmanian students and learning conditions and finally deliver the reforms needed for the state’s overstretched education system.

“Minister Jaensch must take with him to Friday’s national education crisis talks the Lifting Learning solutions that were provided to him by teachers and school staff and backed by broad community support,” AEU Tasmania State Manager Brian Wightman said.

“It’s critical that our Minister is a voice for Tasmania and is prepared to commit to education reform so no student gets left behind.”

The AEU’s recently released Lifting Learning campaign highlights issues and presents solutions to the state’s overburdened education system which is leaving Tasmanian students the most disadvantaged nationally.

Among its proposed reforms are more support for new educators, additional professional support staff in schools such as school psychologists and the need to address the state’s growing teacher shortage.

Friday’s ministerial meeting comes amid concerns teacher shortages will worsen, with modelling suggesting demand for high school teachers nationally will outstrip graduates by more than 4000 in coming years.

Mr Wightman said our national education leaders must address the long-term attractiveness of the teaching profession and structure.

“Fixing the teacher shortage, which is occurring in Tasmania and around the country, requires big picture thinking and a commitment to lift learning through educator recruitment and support for existing teachers,” he said.

“Tasmanian educators are now more than ever turning away from a once sought-after career in teaching, with 54 teachers who were working in their first five years leaving the profession last year alone – a 50 per cent increase on the year prior.

“This, coupled with a 55 per cent spike in teacher stress-leave claims, should be a burning red flag for our minister to acknowledge that enough is enough and the time for reform is long overdue.”