Victoria Will Be Making Teaching Degrees Free From 2024 To Combat The Severe Lack Of Teachers

In an attempt to beat the gargantuan demand for teachers across the state, the Victorian government has announced they will be giving out full scholarships for teaching degrees from next year.

According to the ABC the government will be providing an additional $229million of funding to the education sector, who have been protesting for government assistance for over 12 months.

Included in the additional funding package is the expenses necessary to pay for scholarships for students looking to complete teaching degrees, undergraduate or postgraduate, over 2024 and 2025. The expected cost of these scholarships is $93 million.

There are terms and conditions, however. The scholarships will only be given to those studying to become high school teachers, meaning primary education degrees will not have the same benefits. Additionally, in order to receive the free degree new teachers must teach in government schools for two years.

Premier Daniel Andrews has boasted of the win-win outcome this creates for everyone involved, saying that it leaves education students “$18,000 better off for an undergraduate, and $9,000 for postgraduates. That’s money in your pocket. It helps with cost of living or you can use it to pay your HECS debt. It gets paid to you. You can use it for whatever you choose to use it.”

Andrews explained exactly how the benefit would be delivered, too. “Half the money is paid during your undergraduate years, and the other half is paid at the end of your two years state school service,” he explained.

According to estimations from teaching unions, the education sector in Victoria is currently lacking in almost 2,000 teachers, with the aim being that these scholarships will benefit 4,000 new teachers. It also hopes to help to bring people into the education profession that might have otherwise been uninterested, and attract potential new teachers from other states and overseas.

Despite the huge offer of free degrees being incredibly attractive to future students, teaching unions still say that measures need to be made now to fix the present situation. Andrews’ opposition leader John Pesutto has described the boost as a “Band-Aid” solution.

This Victorian announcement comes in the same week that the NSW government approved giving teachers in the state a pay rise of almost $10,000 annually. Which means obviously the pro-tip is to get your degree from Vic, work there for two years, and then move to NSW for a raise.

Does this mean that more people will be turning to teaching? On one hand a free degree is heaps attractive, but on the other hand… teenagers. We will have to wait and see of course, as the first batch of these free-degree teachers wouldn’t join the workforce until 2026 at the earliest.