Australia is facing a massive shortage of teachers especially in the specialists’ fields like mathematics and science teachers, particularly in physics and chemistry. “With imminent retirements and poor retention rates, this problem will only get worse. It has already reached crisis point in some areas.” The Australian Minister of Education announced that the Australian Government will put plans in place to attract the best foreign teachers available.
This week, during his opening address at the Australia Science Teachers’ Association annual conference, Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham announced the federal government plans to ensure every high school has access to specialist science and math teachers.
The Australian Council for Educational Research has long highlighted the supply and demand issues for science and math teachers in Australia. About 40% of physics teachers will retire in the next 10 years but only 10% of all trainee science teachers are specialising in physics. Australia will however need teachers of all subject disciplines and will consider all applicants based on merit.
The teacher shortage is not only an Australia-wide but is affecting other countries like New Zealand too. This means even fewer teachers are available to fill increasingly larger gaps in the job market. In fact teachers, along with tradesmen, are considered to have some of the best job prospects in Australia right now and in the future. The effect of the shortage on some industry areas and employment sectors will be clearer in a few years.
Regional and remote schools are hardest hit by shortages and as such a number of states are offering state sponsored visas for teachers particularly schools in rural or smaller communities which often fail to attract enough applications for science and math positions.
Source: Channel 9 News, Australian Education Ministry,