Education policy a passionate battleground for LNP members

EDUCATION policy became a passionate battleground as Queensland LNP party members debated whether rural schools would lose out if teacher qualifications were recorded and if indigenous perspectives should be taught at the expense of liberal democracy lessons.

The LNP's Policy Standing Committee successfully carried a motion to keep a teacher qualification register with details of study majors or specialisations but only after fierce debate, mostly from teachers who have taught multiple fields they were not qualified to teach.

A committee member said too many teachers were square pegs in round holes with about 80% of government secondary schools with maths teachers not qualified in that subject.

He said the same occurred in physics and chemistry which was creating a "desperate situation".

The member said doctors, lawyers, accountants and engineers must be registered as qualified in certain areas.

"We need that for our teachers as well," he said.

"You wouldn't have an orthopaedic surgeon doing brain surgery."

Burkedin MP Rosemary Menkens said she was a home economics teacher who taught everything but her discipline for many years.

She said she was concerned about small rural schools "where we have a lot of trouble getting teachers anyway".
Ms Menkens said most teachers "out west" found they must teach across many subject areas.

She said she was worried about who would have access to the register; fearing parents in rural areas might judge teachers badly and say "they shouldn't be teaching my children".

A Bundamba member said he was a maths teacher who had spent 14 years teaching computer subjects.

"Qualifications don't show whether you're competent or not," he said.

"You can be extremely competent without having any official qualifications. You can have qualifications and be totally useless at teaching."

Others argued the motion was simple business management to enable forward planning for training purposes.

Gympie branch member Chris Clifford successfully sought for a review of the national curriculum which she said he was causing "concern distress and unhappiness in many of our schools and classrooms".

She questioned how age relevant writing an apology letter on the stolen generation could be to a grade three child who could not even understand the concept.

Ms Clifford also told the convention the history section was too narrow; pointing out that Queensland had vastly different industries, terrain, environments and was decentralised compared to much of Australia.

Queensland Senator Brett Mason, who is Shadow Minister for Tertiary Education, said the drafters had "straight jacketed" the curriculum in saying schools must cover indigenous perspectives, Asian engagement and sustainability.

He questioned whether liberal democracy, science, technology or judeo-Christian ethics were more important, declaring students should understand Anzac Day before anything else.

Mr Mason said the curriculum yearned for diversity when it should be teaching the things that "unite us not those things that take us apart".

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