Published in NT Sun on October 30 2018
TRB AN IMPORTANT INSTITUTION
The NT Teachers Registration Board is an important institution playing a key role in ensuring the quality and competence of teachers in our schools.
These boards are part and parcel of the educational make up of every state and territory in Australia. It is behoven upon boards to ensure teachers appointed to our schools meet agreed standards in terms of qualification, competence and character.
Since its establishment in September 2004, the Northern Territory Teachers Registration Board has processed applications from hundreds of teachers. For the most part the board has done a most satisfactory job.
In recent times however, it has been reported that several teachers in our schools have slipped through the net and into our classrooms. That should have not happened. It only takes one or two slips like this to negatively impact on the board’s reputation.
In one case a person had a background that included quite a number of “aliases”. This would have made it difficult to accurately evaluate that person’s background and character. There have been other instances of people being registered when that was not the most appropriate option.
Systems need to safeguard our children and offer them the best possible education. While 99% of our teachers approved by the board fill the brief for appointment, no oversight can be excused.
Any failure will become general knowledge and sully the reputation of the board in the eyes of the public. What needs to be understood is that it can be extremely difficult to work around issues of alias names and identity issues of people who may be trying to hide past circumstances when seeking registration.
The fact that state and territory boards are separate entities only operating within their own boundaries, may be a weakness of the current registration system. We have a national curriculum and national testing program. Consideration should be given to nationalising teacher registration.
Unifying national registration might help overcome glitches that can occur when teachers move from one state or territory to another, requiring new registration. How thoroughly NT registration and police checks are able to explore the history of teachers seeking endorsement may be an issue. A national teacher registration board could also promote the idea of portability of teacher qualifications from one state and territory to another. This would facilitate nationwide teacher transfer.
To nationalise teacher registration would be a logical step in developing an Australia wide perspective on education. It may also help to overcome the likelihood of teachers inappropriately slipping past registration processes and into NT classrooms.