Report “Gap Analysis”: Training

29 05 2011

Time for a closer look now at the Teacher Librarian Inquiry Report

and where it falls short. We will start with Training.

Some 3000 positions are currently unfilled by qualified teacher librarians (ASLA, Canberra Transcript).

If  QUT graduates an estimated  50 TLs/year and Charles Sturt University graduates approximately 100 TLs/year (half in the Masters program, half with the Graduate Certificate), how many years will we need to fill these positions? And that’s not taking into account the many TLs reaching retirement. (I did not find statistics for Edith Cowan University in the transcripts.)

“DEEWR stated that the supply and demand for university courses is a matter for the tertiary sector and not for the Government to determine” (Report p. 75).

Yet, recently the government influenced the training of Early Childhood Educators directly by providing scholarships.

Training needs for teacher librarians have been left, however, in the Report  to Peter Garrett as Minister of Education to initiate a dialogue.  Recommendation 9 suggests he “establish a national dialogue, including with tertiary providers, on the role of teacher librarians today in schools and into the future. The dialogue should include an examination of the adequacy of the pathways into the profession and ongoing training requirements.”  This would happen through Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs.

A “National Dialogue” has been used for Universal Housing Design.  It has “representatives from all levels of government, and key stakeholders groups.” A Secretariat has been provided for this.

We will have to see if this recommendation is taken up and, if so, how.  Meanwhile 10-15% of Queensland and Victorian government schools do not have qualified teacher librarians, 87% of Victorian primary schools, 23% in SA, 50% in the ACT, 67% in Tasmania, 90% in WA, and 95% of government schools in the NT. While NSW still mandates TL staffing in all government schools, The Hub has new information which suggests that while NSW theoretically staffs qualified TLs in all schools, there could be dozens of unfilled positions or positions filled by untrained teachers, some of this due to National Partnership Agreements.

Presumably, the recommended Workforce Gap Analysis (Recommendation 8 ) would also be needed to contribute to this dialogue. Current analysis, Staff in Australian Schools, is based on principal perceptions. We have a long wait ahead for training to meet demand with all Australian students provided with access to the services of a qualified teacher librarian, supported by qualified staff.




3 responses

29 05 2011
Pat Stott

Can someone please tell me where the figure of 3000 came from? In the school I work in, we have 2 T/L’s neither work in the library and haven’t worked in a library for about 10 years! The T/L was the first position to go when numbers at the school dropped, and although numbers are slowly going up, the T/L won’t be employed in the library in the forseeable future. Especially since the majority of T/Ls are classified as ‘experienced’ teachers and therefore cost the most to employ.

29 05 2011

Karen Bonano, stated, at the first hearing in Sydney (see the transcript) “we probably have a rough estimate of a shortage of around 2½ thousand or 3,000.” (28 April, p. 13)

We have 9,500 schools approx in Australia. 2009 census there could be 7,500 positions staffed with standard formula. “Looking at our membership makeup across Australia—and membership to school library associations is not compulsory, it is voluntary—and looking at the number of people who do not join their professional association, we probably have a rough estimate of a shortage of around 2½ thousand or 3,000.”

DEEWR says in 2006-7 survey there were 6300 fully qualified primary specialist teacher librarians, so that also would leave around 3000 shortfall.

Also if you use figures from the ASLRP which states that about 35% of schools in their survey had no qualified TL in the library, that would also work out to about 3000.

30 05 2011
Noel McDonough

Back Burner again!

Remember that for years we were Librarians – occasionally School Librarians. For a number of years now we have tried to have other staff and the school community and the general community, correctly acknowledge us as Teacher-Librarians, reflecting our dual qualifications. I actually believe that now, with the emphasis of contemporary courses, that we should be designated a “Teacher Librarian/Information Specialists” – thus I shall forthwith describe myself thus [when I remember].

I think that your anecdotal reflection upon NSW is correct. I know that, when I first took up my current position as a Secondary Teacheer Librarian/Information Specialist, following interview, I had no T/L training, little T/L understanding and a predisposition to deride T/Ls after 40-odd years as a Secondary English teacher, and I have one friend whom I know had been a Primary T/L for at least 15 years with absolutely no qualifications.

What does appear to have happened is that DETNSW seems to be following a policy that teachers in these situations are required to gain the appropriate qualifications and I believe that a time limit has been set. Don’t actually know, though!!!

I also think that the use of Primary teachers as RFF is a diminution of our profession and a shackle on our ability to function in our more professional role. Although UNESCO and the ‘high-ups’, even down to State Govt level acknowledge our professional status, school, region and even system level ‘powers-that-be’ far too often see us as stampers of books and stackers of shelves.


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