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Sydney CEO seeks review on male teacher ruling

The Catholic Education Office wants the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission to take another look at its decision not to allow the office to offer special inducements to attract more male teachers into Catholic primary schools.

The Catholic Education Office had applied for a temporary exemption from the provisions in the Sex Discrimination Act (1984) to allow it to discriminate in favour of men by offering some primary teachers training scholarships that give preferential treatment to male students.

The main aim of the proposed scholarship scheme was to redress the shortage of male teachers in primary schools so that students could have more male role models.

Sydney Archdiocese executive director of schools Br Kelvin Canavan (pictured) told The Catholic Weekly that fewer than 10% of teachers in primary schools are males.

"I was surprised by the commission's decision," he said, "but we will continue to look for ways of attracting more males to the teaching profession.

"Principals I have spoken to are anxious to have a balance of both male and female teachers. Most primary schools only have one or two male teachers," he said. "In the past five years, 80% of such scholarships have been taken up by women.

"We will be seeking a review of the decision."

Br Kelvin says that while he agrees with the commission that the reasons fewer males choose to teach in primary schools are complex, the problem of attracting male teachers into primary schools persists.

Catholic Weekly

Editorial: Gender imbalance (Catholic Leader)
Teaching as a vocation (Catholic Leader)
Queensland schools to press ahead on gender balance (6/3/03)
Editorial: Finding ways to train more male teachers (Courier-Mail)
Queensland Catholic Education Commission
Human Rights Commission rejects Catholic male teacher solution (5/3/03)
Male teachers - Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (Media Release from Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson, 3/3/03)
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission - Notice of inquiry: Application for exemption under Sex Discrimination Act section 44: Catholic Education Office Scholarships for Male Trainee Teachers
Sydney CEO seeking discrimination law exemption (21/11/02)
Catholic Education Office Sydney
Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (NSW) | Submission to Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Enquiry
Male teachers drop out of NT schools (Northern Territory News 27/2/03)
Decline in male teachers continues (ABC)
School's in for male teachers (The Mercury 27/2/03))
A minority male makes teaching his primary aim (The Age 4/3/03)
Queensland Catholic schools need more male teachers (2/7/02)
Wanted: more teachers (Catholic Weekly 26/8/01)

13 Mar 2003