FOR the first time in Australia, a state government has established an Institute of Teaching to register teachers, monitor their conduct, and carry out research into teaching and learning.
As well as compiling a register of all the state's primary and secondary school teachers, the Victorian Institute of Teaching will also set out the criteria and standards for registration, and will approve university teacher education courses for entry to the profession.
From the start of next year, the institute will investigate complaints against teachers of serious misconduct or incompetence and will have the option of imposing sanctions on individuals found guilty or incompetent.
Its governing council will have 20 members: 10 elected by teachers in the government and private school sectors, nine nominated by the education minister and one appointed by the education department.
The Australian Education Union welcomed the institute, saying the representation of teachers on the council would mean they now had effective control over their own profession. But the union has protested that teachers in post-secondary technical colleges and those working in areas other than primary and secondary schools will not come under the institute's registration requirements.
The government said it would establish other registration procedures for some of these groups but that technical teachers were employed by autonomous colleges which had responsibility for their own staff.
Meanwhile, in Queensland, the education union has responded angrily to proposals that teachers in that state should be required to re-apply for their teaching licences every five years. The Queensland Board of Teacher Registration is considering the recommendation which it said was intended to weed out incompetent teachers.