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CEO looks for further strategies to attract male teachers

The Catholic Education Office (CEO) of the Archdiocese of Sydney is looking at new ways to attract male teachers to primary schools following a lack of demand for its special scholarships.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the CEO last year fought to have Australia's human rights watchdog clear the way for male-only teaching scholarships in Catholic primary schools.

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) granted the CEO a temporary exemption from the Sex Discrimination Act to offer 24 new scholarships, 12 for men only and 12 for women.

But CEO executive director Br Kelvin Canavan (pictured), said just six of the 12 male teaching scholarships, worth $8,000 each, have been taken up.

"I would have loved to have 12 scholarships but this was just the first time we'd focused on this particular group and I think we'll have perhaps other strategies for 2005 graduates," he told ABC radio.

"And I'd be quietly confident that we will continue to find ways of getting more males into Catholic primary schools."

Br Kelvin said he believes factors such as teacher salaries, career opportunities and concerns about child protection issues are among factors turning men away from teaching.

President of the Australian Council of Deans of Education profession Terry Lovat said he was not surprised by the slow take-up rate of the male scholarships.

"There's the ongoing issue of the reputation or regard with which a profession is held and at a time when that seems to be getting a fair bagging from politicians through the media etc," he told ABC radio. "It would take very, very powerful antidotes to lure people toward that sort of profession.

Despite the lack of interest in the CEO's scholarships, the government is pushing ahead with plans to amend the Sex Discrimination Act and set up a $1 million scholarship program for men to help address the shortage of male teachers, in primary schools. The legislation is being debated in parliament this week.

Catholic schools target male teachers (Sydney Morning Herald/Australian Associated Press 15/3/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Education Office, Sydney | Br Kelvin Canavan: Schools and students, now we need teachers
Catholic Educatino Commission NSW
Federal Minister for Education
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
Australian Council of Deans of Education

CEO head says male teacher win just a start (CathNews 5/5/04)
Catholic male teaching scholarships allowed (CathNews 22/3/04)
CEO head appeals to minor parties to back male teachers (CathNews 11/3/04)
CEO chief backs Minister's action on male teachers (CathNews 10/3/04)
Labor rejects PM's resolve to back Catholics on male teachers (CathNews 23/2/04)
PM signals backing of Catholic push for more male teachers (CathNews 2/2/04)

Men uninterested in teaching despite targeted scholarships (ABC Radio AM 15/3/05)
Male scholarships not the answer: ALP (Sydney Morning Herald/Australian Associated Press 15/3/05)
Male scholarships not the answer: ALP (The Age/Australian Associated Press 15/3/05)
How the cane was canned (The Age 16/3/05)
Men-only teacher grants hit a snag (The Age 16/3/05)
School of hard knocks (The Age 16/3/05)
Schools rethink bid to lure men (The Australian/Australian Associated Press 15/3/05)
Teaching bursaries to stay (The Australian 16/3/05)

16 Mar 2005