In a move designed to address the teacher shortage and to attract quality teachers, The University of Western Australia will offer new primary teacher education courses from next year.
The program - announced today by the WA Minister for Education Mark McGowan and the University - will be available as a five-year combined degree for undergraduate entrants, or as a two-year course for graduate entrants.
"The University of Western Australia's Graduate School of Education already attracts students of the highest quality who are destined to become leaders in education," the University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Robson, said.
"The School is rated the highest of all GO8 universities in terms of student satisfaction with a 100 per cent graduate employment record. Our new primary teacher program will help to ensure an increasingly high standard of teachers in West Australian schools, providing a bright future for young West Australians."
"Primary teacher education suffers nationally from a long-term decline in entry standards, to a degree that is likely to impact on the quality of teaching and leadership for the next generation of school children," said Professor Bill Louden, Dean of the Graduate School of Education.
"Admission to the program will be selective, requiring undergraduates to meet the University's high entry standards; and graduates to have strong academics in their undergraduate degrees.
"For high performing students who choose their university first, and their course next, primary teaching was effectively excluded as an option," Professor Louden said.
As an encouragement to prospective secondary teachers, the Fogarty Foundation is offering 10 inaugural $3,000 Teaching Excellence Scholarships for 2009, raising the profile and status of teaching as a profession and making it a career choice for high academic achievers.