Overseas-trained teachers offered track to accreditation

“It is harder to become a teacher than a doctor if you have overseas qualifications”

Sydney Institute for Community Languages Education (SICLE) has developed and initiated programs for some 2,000 professionals with overseas qualifications to help them become accredited in Australian schools. Sixty have already begun Master of Teaching programs that will see them work in local schools in 2021.

It is the only bridging course of its kind for overseas-trained teachers in the world.

Professor Cruickshank

“At the moment, it is harder to become a teacher than a doctor in Australia if you have overseas qualifications,” said Professor Ken Cruickshank, who has organised the fast-tracked teacher training programs at Western Sydney University and ACU Strathfield.

“So many highly qualified teachers with years of teaching experiences overseas get lost in the system.  have qualifications; it is so hard to get information and find a pathway and they are often directed to the wrong courses.” Professor Cruickshank said. “We need teachers in NSW and this is such a waste of skills. It is a much bigger problem than people think.”

Professor Cruickshank said there are over 2,000 teachers with experience in teaching overseas who are not recognised in Australia, around 90 percent of them are women. Many are refugees from Syria, Iraq or Burma.

“These are teachers with decades of experience who are also juggling childcare and work and adapting to a new country, they need information and support,” Professor Cruickshank said. “Our new course is takes two to three years to attain their Australian accreditation. It is a real pathway for migrant and refugee women and men.”

Needing diverse teachers

Over 20 percent of students speak a language in addition to English at home, but the teaching profession in Australia is very monolingual English. Teachers with overseas training often take on volunteer teaching in Community Languages Schools but it is difficult for them to get information on how to get their qualifications recognised. They rely on family or friends to tell them about a pathway.

Thanks to a $7.6 million grant from NSW government, SICLE can now provide advice about further study and careers free to teachers in the community languages schools. The centre also provides classes to improve their English and supports migrants in sitting for the English tests needed to become a teacher in Australia.

100 places available

In 2021, SICLE has 100 places available in the Master of Teaching programs for teachers needed to upgrade their qualifications. These programs enable teachers to gain accreditation in NSW as generalist primary teachers or as secondary teachers in all subject areas. Teachers will get support in study skills; they do teaching practice in local schools; there is a lot of support in classroom management and topics such as using technology.

“Having teachers who know different languages and cultures in our schools is really important for all Australian students in this multicultural society and diverse global environment,” said Professor Cruickshank.

For more information or to register go to SICLE website http://mteach.org.au/

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