Victorian Education Minister James Merlino said the government was adjusting placement and registration requirements to make it easier for teachers to do their work during the pandemic.
“With many students now learning from home, teaching students and current teachers will not be able to undertake the practical training they usually need to, to enter or stay in the teaching force,” Mr Merlino said.
“These changes in practical training will ensure fairness for prospective teachers and our current teachers.”
The union for teachers in government schools said the reduced requirement would help ward off a potential teacher drought next year.
“We know we are in a period of growth and we need to have a ready and constant supply of new teachers coming through to replace people who retire as well as dealing with that growth,” said Meredith Peace, Victorian branch president of the Australian Education Union.
“We don’t want to be in a position where we run short of the number of teachers that are needed because students can’t get the number of practical days.”
Victoria was on track to experience a shortage of secondary teachers in each year between 2019 and 2023, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Department of Education and Training’s most recent data, from 2017.
The Victorian Institute of Teaching will assess if those graduates who have qualified with a reduced number of hours in the classroom have met all graduate teacher standards and are ready to enter the teaching profession.
There will be no easing of the academic standards students must meet. The minimum ATAR for entry to teaching courses will remain at 70 and teaching graduates will still have to pass the literacy and numeracy test for initial teacher education to qualify.
Ten per cent of graduates did not pass the test in 2018, meaning they were blocked from entering the profession.
Adam Carey is Education Editor. He joined The Age in 2007 and has previously covered state politics, transport, general news, the arts and food.