Australian schools rank poorly on discipline

Australian classrooms are among the least disciplined and the nation’s teachers feel the least prepared to tackle poor student behaviour, according to an international education report.

Apr 11, 2023, updated Apr 11, 2023
File image: Pexels/Pixabay

File image: Pexels/Pixabay

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s education policy outlook has revealed Australia’s learning environments are “less favourable in terms of disciplinary climate, intimidation or bullying”.

Fewer Australian teachers reported feeling prepared or capable of managing disruptive classroom behaviour than their counterparts across the OECD, which has 38 member countries.

Australian teachers also worked higher-than-average net teaching hours and had slightly less competitive salaries compared to other similarly educated professions, except for school principals.

The OECD report cited high levels of attrition as an area of concern for the Australian education system, saying a “strong” supply of highly qualified and engaged teachers was needed.

“National evidence has projected a deficit of 4100 secondary school teachers needed by 2025,” the OEDC said.

Lower secondary teachers earned 99 per cent of the average salary of other university-educated workers, while principals earned 185 per cent, which is amongst the highest for school leaders in OECD countries.

Student absenteeism was also higher than the average, with one in three 15-year-olds reported to have skipped at least one day of school in the two weeks prior to the Program for International Student Assessment 2018 test, compared to one in five students across the OECD.

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The report found evidence of growing disengagement amongst students in their final years of high school, due to disruptions including the COVID-19 pandemic and pre-existing “cumulative learning gaps”.

Federal Education Minister Jason Clare said the report confirmed the “equity issues and teacher workforce challenges we face”.

“While the report shows we have a good education system by international standards, we know that it should be a lot better and a lot fairer,” he said on Wednesday.


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