Sunday Feb 05, 2023

COVID-19 impact on schools to be examined


Education Minister Jason Clare says fixing a teacher shortage due to the impacts of COVID-19 and the flu is high on his agenda.

Mr Clare said the shortage was getting worse due to the particularly cold winter.

“(It’s) led to teachers being at home crook rather than being in the classroom looking after kids,” he told reporters in Darwin on Thursday.

“We’ve got a teacher shortage right across the country that’s getting worse, not better.”

He said he would raise the issue with state and territory education ministers when they next met.

“I think different states and territories will make their own decisions in the months ahead about what the rules are around vaccinations and teachers.”

The Age newspaper has reported unvaccinated teachers will be back in classrooms in Victoria next week, and parents will not have the right to take their children out of school because their teacher is not vaccinated.

Mr Clare acknowledged the teacher shortage issue was broader, with fewer young people entering the teaching profession and baby boomer teachers retiring soon.

He said he would also be working with universities on a post-pandemic “reset”.

“I recognise that our universities did incredible things … coming up with the research and the discoveries that helped us to get through this pandemic.

“Not only that, we had trainee doctors and trainee pharmacists, who were vaccinating people right across the country, who were donating money to charity to feed some of those international students who were left to fend for themselves.”


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