MORE maths and science teachers are needed to fill serious shortfalls in the region’s secondary schools.
Nanjing Night Net

Poor national results in science and mathematics has been highlighted in recent weeks with comparative research suggesting Australia was lagging behind Japan and Singapore, among others.

The claims come after the federal government released the Gonski review, a key report into the funding arrangements of the nation’s primary and secondary schools.

Hamilton and Alexandra College principal Bruce Simons said finding the right teachers to fill certain curriculum vacancies was an ongoing struggle for many secondary schools.

He said qualified teacher shortfalls were occurring at a range of independent, state and Catholic schools throughout the south-west.

“Australia should be leading the world when it comes to providing a comprehensive education including maths and sciences,” Mr Simons said.

“Unfortunately, we are lagging behind our neighbours in south-east Asia and European nations such as Norway when it comes to maths and science education and we will continue down that path if teaching numbers are not properly addressed.”

Emmanuel College principal Philip Morison said education graduate numbers ebbed and flowed, depending on enrolment trends in university.

He said most south-west schools experienced shortfalls in staff numbers although maths and science appeared to be particularly problematic.

“There has been some research to show that there are shortages in maths and science teachers right across the country,” Mr Morison said.

Wannon MP Dan Tehan said teachers of mathematics and science had become sparse on the ground in recent years and believed the federal government needed to take active steps to addressing the problem.

He said the Coalition was still formulating an overall response to the report.

“There’s no question that more needs to be done when it comes to recruiting teachers, especially when it comes to maths and science classes,” Mr Tehan said.

“I think the reason the federal government is not committing adequate funding and resources to education is due to the billions of dollars of debt they have racked up during their time in power.”

A report released by the Grattan Institute last week found that Australian high school students are more than two years behind urban Chinese students in maths and 15 months behind in science.

The report also found Australian students were significantly behind Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore in key learning areas.

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