Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Victoria announces free teaching scholarships

The Victorian Government today announced it will make studying to become a teacher in secondary schools in Victoria free, with scholarships to cover the cost of degrees.

Premier, Daniel Andrews and Minister for Education, Natalie Hutchins today visited Saltwater P-9 College in Point Cook to announce the scholarships, as part of a $229.8 million package to grow the school workforce.

“Teachers change lives – it’s as simple as that. This will mean one less barrier for Victorians thinking of a career in teaching, and more great teachers for the education state,” said the Premier.

An investment of up to $93.2 million will provide new scholarships to support teaching degree students with the cost of studying and living.

The Government says the scholarships will be available to all students who enrol in secondary school teaching degrees in 2024 and 2025, with final payments if they then work in Victorian government schools for two years after they graduate.

The total scholarship for students who complete their studies and then choose to work in government secondary schools will match the HELP fees charged by the Commonwealth Government for Commonwealth Supported Places – $18,000 for a four-year undergraduate program or $9,000 for two years of postgraduate study.

A further $27 million will continue and expand the Targeted Financial Incentives Program – providing incentives of up to $50,000 to teachers from Victoria, interstate and overseas to take up rural, remote and otherwise hard-to-staff positions in government schools.

In addition, $95.7 million will expand the successful Australian-first Career Start initiative to support and retain teachers – developing graduate teachers in government schools with extra preparation time, mentoring and other professional support.

The number of teachers in Victoria is increasing and that’s no accident – we’re delivering a range of initiatives that have helped grow the number of registered teachers in Victoria by nearly 5,000 between 2020 and 2022,” said Minister Hutchins.

Meanwhile, an investment of almost $13.9 million will support a trial of employment-based degrees for undergraduates. Set to start in 2025, the program will allow people to study and qualify as a teacher while undertaking paid work at a school, while also providing a pathway for education support staff to gain teaching qualifications.

The package supports five key priority areas agreed by all Australian jurisdictions, in recognition of national school workforce shortages, to tackle workforce pressures: attraction, recruitment and distribution, supporting early-career teachers, retention, and career pathways and flexibility.

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