Victorian government offering free teaching degrees

Studying to become a high school teacher in Victoria will be free as the government tries to stem workforce shortages.

Up to $93.2 million will go towards scholarships to support teaching students throughout 2024 and 2025, with the final payments made if they work in state-run schools for two years after they graduate.

The program is similar to one running for nursing students that started this year.

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It is for permanent residents and Australian citizens who live and are studying in Victoria and for secondary school-qualified teachers, where shortages are most acute, Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“This is a practical way in which we can make a teaching degree and teaching in state schools an even more attractive job — but more than a job, a career, a calling, a mission in your life,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

The government expects about 4000 graduates each year will take up the program.

The total scholarship for students will match the fees charged by the Australian government for commonwealth supported places, $18,000 for a four-year undergraduate program or $9000 for two years of postgraduate study.

The announcement was part of a wider $229.8 million package to grow school workforces.

Other parts of the package include $27 million to continue an incentives program of up to $50,000 to teachers from Victoria, interstate and overseas to take up rural, remote and otherwise hard-to-staff positions in government schools.

There is also $95.7 million to expand a teacher retention program that helps developing graduate teachers in government schools with extra preparation time, mentoring and other professional support.

The funding announced on Tuesday was not part of May’s state budget.

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