The Chicken or the Egg? The Good Teacher or The Good Student?
Many industries are struggling to fill their job vacancies. These include –
- Information technology,
- Digital skills,
- Health care
- Food services
Here we are only naming a few who are struggling to get trained staff. It is estimated that there are currently over 470,000 unfilled job vacancies in Australia alone, with more being experienced worldwide.
This caused our Principal John Mason to reflect –
“Some industries can't fill the jobs they need to fill - Trades, I.T., Agriculture etc.
Not enough people have learned the right things. Solving the problem is not a simple matter of allocating more money to train more students.
For more training, you need more experienced, qualified teachers.
Those teachers come from those currently working in the industry, but we don't have enough capable people working in industries that teachers need to emerge from.
Without capable experts the quality of writing, teaching, media information is at risk.
High demand disciplines/industries can spiral down - misinformation can proliferate and it may take generations for this neglected situation to be put right.”
Chicken or Egg?
So, what comes first – the teacher or the student? This is a classic chicken and egg scenario. To get a good student to fill those job vacancies, you need them to have a good teacher. But to get a good teacher, you need a good student who is trained well and becomes a good teacher.
The 2022-2023 Australian Federal Budget is estimated to have made cuts of $559 billion. Funding for higher education will decrease by 8.3% and funding per university student will decrease by 5.4% this year, then 3.6% for the following two years.
Australia is not alone in these cuts to education.
In the UK, 90% of primary schools will experience a cut in funding within the next year. The government have approved 50% cuts in art and design degrees across the country. Further education and sixth forms (16 – 19 year olds) saw the biggest cuts in the decade to 2020 and more are expected.
Other countries, such as America, are also cutting funding to education.
When we look at educational funding, often the first thing that is cut is teachers.
Cutting funding means less, high quality teachers. This means –
- Less quality teaching to the students
- Courses being cut or reduced
- Less teaching time
Which in turns means that less students come out with the necessary skills and qualifications to do their jobs well, which means –
- Unfilled job vacancies
- A reduced potential pool of high quality and knowledgeable staff to become the teachers of the future
It is definitely a chicken and egg situation.
Good students become good teachers who create good students of the future who create the good teachers of the future.