DEAKIN University expects education reforms would hamper its efforts to rebuild the Warrnambool campus.
Teacher education and training in Victoria will be overhauled to ensure the best teachers are in the state’s classrooms.
The state government announced the Excellence in Teacher Education reforms to train and attract the best and brightest teachers to Victoria.
From 2018, students will require a minimum ATAR score of 65 to gain a place in any teaching undergraduate course, rising to 70 in 2019.
Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre figures show the primary teaching degree at the Warrnambool campus had a ‘clearly-in’ ATAR of 60.55 in 2016.
Of the 25 offers made, more than 35 per cent were to year 12 students with an ATAR lower than the ‘clearly-in’ score.
Teaching degree offers were made to 15 year 12 students.
Arts and education executive dean Professor Brenda Cherednichenko said lifting the entry rank requirement would not automatically lead to higher quality teaching.
“Sadly, (James Merlino, the) Education Minister’s announcement includes measures which have the potential to make the capacity to serve regional and rural Victoria much more difficult,” she said.
“Deakin’s teacher education program at Warrnambool is challenged by a lack of demand for programs in regional communities and these measures will further discourage those from rural areas seeking to study to be teachers in their communities.”
Mr Merlino said some universities had granted places to low-achieving secondary school students who were “not ready” to undertake a teaching degree.
“At the moment the variation is huge,” he said.
“You can have an ATAR of 30 and get into a teaching course today (and) those people are just not ready to be teachers. We want highly aspirational people wanting to become a teacher and setting a high bar sends a very clear message that that's what we expect.”
While Deakin welcomed the government's commitment to lift confidence in teacher preparation, it argued the focus on the ATAR rank missed the mark.
Professor Cherednichenko said less than 25 per cent of teaching students entered universities via the ATAR system.
“We agree that there is a large variance in the cut off limits across universities and we also believe the community needs more confidence in the system, largely because the focus on ATAR confuses the issue,” she said.
“The Associate Degree of Education is offered on the Warrnambool campus and provides a strong pathway to the Bachelor of Education degree.”