Labor promises cash payments to entice high achievers to study teaching

Labor promises to pay students who get an ATAR of 80 or over up to $12,000 a year if they decide to study an education degree, as part of its plan to boost teaching standards and reduce teacher shortages.

The plan would see high-achieving students who choose to do an education degree given $10,000 a year for the length of the course, or $12,000 if they commit to teaching in a regional area — although it is not clear how long they would have to promise to teach regionally.

The extra cash would be offered to 1,000 students a year over five years and it is understood priority would be given to students with the highest ATARs.

Labor said a similar program in the United Kingdom had shown a 2.9 per cent increase in applications to study education and teaching for every 1,000 pounds ($1,743) in payments.

The party’s long-term goal is to double the number of people who get an ATAR over 80 studying education over the next 10 years from around 1,800 a year to 3,600 a year.

“One of the most important things we can do to stop the slide in students results and boost student results is to lift teaching standards,” Shadow Education Minister Tanya Plibersek said.

“If we want a better future in Australia, we need a smart, skilled workforce so we can compete for jobs and growth with our neighbours.”

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