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Placing a cap on teaching degrees doesn’t guarantee better teachers

Sara Glover and George McLean write in The Conversation (5.10.16) about calls from some of the larger universities and Education Ministers to cap the number of students enrolling in teaching degrees. The authors contend that, counter to their arguments, limiting the supply of new teachers will not improve teacher quality overall.

‘The New South Wales Minister for Education, Adrian Piccoli, has floated the idea of placing a cap on teaching degrees.

‘In an era of demand-driven higher education, where universities have the option of expanding places to respond to student demand and achieve economies of scale, Piccoli has called for reforms to ensure the supply of new teachers matches the jobs on offer and the needs of schools.

‘He suggests that “reintroducing caps on initial teacher education courses would be the most effective way to match supply and demand, and attract the brightest students.”

‘Would the capping of initial teacher education places in fact achieve these twin benefits? Would it guarantee jobs for teaching graduates and steady the supply of teachers in schools while simultaneously raising the quality of teaching and student learning?’

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