Education Minister Answers Deans’ Questions in a Special Forum
The Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, addressed and answered many questions from Deans of Education a special ACDE Deans’ Forum at the University of Adelaide, on 1 September 2017.
A transcript of the Minister’s initial remarks can be read here.
The Deans were particularly pleased to hear the Minister recognise the important public benefit of Commonwealth-supported places (CSPs) in teacher education. ACDE welcomes the ongoing consultation on how to best utilise existing infrastructure and organisations to ensure the best CSP framework. ACDE also agrees with the Minister’s view that teaching quality and improving the perception of the profession are some of the biggest challenges we face.
Additional points raised in questions with the Minister included the following:
National Framework for Principals
The Minister has tasked AITSL with developing a comprehensive National Framework for Principals with pre-Principal pathways and accompanying applicant standards. The AITSL proposal will go to Ministerial Council next year and may later be introduced as a standalone framework or as part of the current Gonski reforms.
More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers
Deans were heartened by the Minister’s interest in the critical area of attracting, supporting and retaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers and teacher education academics following the end of the More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers Initiative (MATSITI) project last year. The ACDE was encouraged by Minister Birmingham’s acknowledgement of the need for more detail and his offer to meet soon with ACDE Board member and for MATSITI Project Director, Professor Peter Buckskin, to discuss future actions. The Deans strongly agree with the Minister’s view of the need for strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander role models in classrooms for all Australian students and improvement in cultural awareness, appreciation and respect.
The Minister agreed to consider the previous experience of students being acknowledged as specialist content in Masters programs and the need to resolve the difficulties in including a Primary Specialisation into Early Childhood Education programs.
Professional Experience, Evidence-based Tools and Lifelong Learning
Minister Birmingham outlined the three pillars of back-to-basics, core literacy and numeracy skills; the need for STEM skills in our economy; and the complex preparation of students required for students to work and participate successfully in society. ACDE supports his focus on the use of evidence in pedagogy and practice and the challenging task of providing teachers with access to evidence-based tools throughout their careers.
Remote, Rural and Regional Education
Concerns raised by Professor Stephen Winn have now been addressed through liaison with DET since the forum.
The ACDE wishes to thank Professor Faye McCallum, Head of School of Education, The University of Adelaide, and Professor Pascale Quester, Acting Vice Chancellor, The University of Adelaide, for generously hosting such a successful event.