Opening remarks at the first meeting of the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group
- Minister for Education
- Leader of the House
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Well thank you all very much for agreeing to form the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group. As I’m sure you all know as I do from reading and anecdotal evidence all the overseas reports that we see from the OECD etc point to teacher quality as our number 1 issue here in Australia to achieve outcomes for students, to put students first and because the Commonwealth has unique responsibilities for universities the area of teacher quality that I feel that we should address is the training of teachers at university because we can actually have a genuine impact on the kinds of courses that are offered and the level of their quality and the outcomes for their students. We could spend a lot of time talking about emoluments, conditions and remuneration but at the end of the day the states and territories do all that work and I would rather focus on the things that we can actually have an impact on.
The Grattan Institute released yet another report on the weekend, Ben, showing that generally the thrust of what the Grattan Institute says needs to be done is what the Commonwealth Government thinks need to be done. Number one on that list is leadership and quality teaching.
I’m very grateful that you have all come together form very different walks of life bringing together mathematics and linguistics as well as work that the Grattan Institute has already done. People who are involved in university teacher like Field and Greg. John Flemming, of course, has got a long history of helping teachers get up to speed on their professional development.
It’s a very high powered and excellent group and I very much look forward to the work that you are going to do which I expect to hopefully have later this year and we will set about working with universities to bring about, if change is necessary, that necessary change. And I’ve also asked you to do a benchmarking study of world’s best practice so that we can raise the expectations of all our teachers who are in training. There is no reason why a country with the wealth of Australia shouldn’t have the best quality training of teachers in the world. We shouldn’t ever be settling for second best.
Thank you Greg for taking on the job as the chairman which I’m sure you’ll do extremely well. I look forward to working with you all and meeting with you over the coming months.
Greg would you like to make some introductory remarks?
PROFESSOR GREG CRAVEN: Very briefly, thank you. I think we’re all excited by the opportunity. We take your points that quality of teachers is the fundamental thing in a system that actually produces outcomes for students. And indeed we note the title of this review that it is about putting Students First, so the purpose of quality teaching is outcomes for students and I believe we’ve reached the point that that’s what we’re about. We’ve also reached the point that this is about practical, implementable outcomes. This isn’t going to be an exercise in writing a thesis it’s going to be an exercise in coming up with implementable ideas consistent with the philosophy that is being expressed in the terms of reference. On behalf of all of us I thank you very much for the opportunity.