Course entry rise

November 25, 2016

Teaching has been given a shake-up across Victoria and educators at Shepparton’s La Trobe University believe they can embrace the change.

From 2019, the minimum Australian Tertiary Admission Rank to get into an undergraduate teaching course in a Victorian university will be 70, meaning only the top 30 per cent of students will be able to get into a course.

The tough increase in entry standards was driven by years of criticisms of lax entry standards for education degrees.

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino said the shake-up was about ensuring Victoria had the best teachers in the country.

‘‘These reforms are about putting people first by making sure our teaching courses are the best in the country and attract the highest quality students,’’ he said.

As part of the Excellence in Teacher Education changes, there will be 60 new scholarships on offer for students from regional or disadvantaged backgrounds and employment-based pathway programs to bring in diverse teaching candidates will be expanded.

La Trobe’s education associate professor Joanna Barbousas said while she was still looking at the finer details, she liked the reform.

‘‘We agree our children deserve the brightest and most passionate, highly-skilled teachers in our schools and we have refreshed our entire course offering to deliver exactly that,’’ Prof Barbousas said.

La Trobe offers teaching courses at all its Victorian campuses, including Shepparton, Melbourne, Bendigo, Mildura and Albury-Wodonga.

As part of changes already introduced at the university, the minimum ATAR will be lifted to 60 next year and 65 in 2018, bringing it close to the state-mandated rank of 70 that will come in at the start of 2019.

However, Prof Barbousas said there needed to be flexible pathways to university teaching courses for potential students coming into university without an ATAR score.

‘‘We look forward to a continuing dialogue on the actual non-ATAR scheme being proposed, the need to ensure alternative-entry pathways are accessible and that regional initial teacher education provision can continue, not just through scholarships,’’ she said.

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