The Education Department has set a target of 60 per cent for women in leadership roles in education. Picture: iStock
The Education Department has set a target of 60 per cent for women in leadership roles in education. Picture: iStock

Education Department’s gender quota slammed by experts

The Department of Education's strategy to increase women in leadership roles to 60 per cent has been criticised for ignoring the real gender issue in schools - the lack of male teachers.

Education experts have questioned why there is a target for more female leaders but no target to encourage more men into classrooms.

"School leaders should be selected on merit, ability and experience rather than on whether they are male or female," Australian Catholic University senior research fellow Dr Kevin Donnelly said.

"Rather than having positive discrimination for women they should be encouraging more men into teaching."

Australian Catholic University senior research fellow Dr Kevin Donnelly. Picture: AAP
Australian Catholic University senior research fellow Dr Kevin Donnelly. Picture: AAP

The NSW Education Department's Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2018-2022 says it wants to "increase the number of women in senior leadership roles from the ­current level of 53 per cent to 60 per cent by 2025".

Blaise Joseph, education research fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies, said: "There is no evidence that this should be a priority. There are a lot of other things to worry about. There is no evidence that having more women in leadership roles is going to improve ­student results."

Macquarie University education expert Dr Kevin McGrath said the number of men being promoted within the NSW Education Department was falling.

While there is a target for female leaders "there are no targets for male teachers and that is something we could change so that the policy is more transparent".

Clear targets should be set to encourage more men into the teaching profession.
Clear targets should be set to encourage more men into the teaching profession.

He said the push for a 60 per cent of leaders to be women was a clear example of inequality.

"It is different to the gender percentage given to all other industries across NSW by the government which is 50/50," he said.

"The under-representation of men within the teaching profession more broadly is ­problematic. There are no programs to balance that out to support and encourage male teachers."

A Department of Education spokesman said with almost 80 per cent of staff being female it was "reasonable for Education to over-achieve the NSW government target" of 50 per cent by 2025.

He said the strategy also looked to increase the numbers of male teachers.


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