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Male Teachers: Sydney CEO to challenge Equal Rights ruling

The SMH reports this morning "Catholic educators will renew their bid to discriminate in favour of men to boost the low number of male teachers in primary schools".

Brother Kelvin Canavan, the executive director of schools for the Sydney Catholic Education Office, said an April 14 appeal date had been set to contest last year's rejection by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission for an exemption under the Sex Discrimination Act.

The Catholic test case sought a five-year exemption from sex discrimination laws to offer male-only scholarships to encourage more men to study teaching at university.

"The number of male teachers continues to decline and we are exploring every avenue possible to reverse the trend," Brother Kelvin said yesterday. "Redressing the gender imbalance in primary schools could only have beneficial effects for students in the long term."

Last year, only 10 of the 57 scholarships offered by the Sydney Catholic Education Office went to men.

The Catholic Education Commission submitted to the Human Rights Commission that there were only 937 male teachers in NSW and ACT Catholic schools in 2001, compared with 4265 women. It argued that male teachers were necessary for the "sound development of boys, that male and female teachers teach differently, and that boys need male role models".

But the commission found that the reasons for the male teacher shortage, which is evident across Australia, were "many and complex". There was also insufficient evidence that the gender imbalance in primary schools would cause "adverse social or educational effects".

SMH – Catholics say male teachers in a class of their own

20 Jan 2004