BY SIMON CULLEN
A leading educator has backed the Coalition's plan to focus on improving teacher quality instead of reducing class sizes, but the Government says the policy will leave students without the individual attention they need.
Opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne says an increasing number of university students are choosing to study education because they consider it to be a "cheap and easy" degree and it is not attracting high achievers.
The chairman of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), Professor Barry McGaw, believes there is no evidence that smaller class sizes somehow produce better student outcomes.
"We have wasted a lot of money in Australian education by reducing class size," Professor McGaw told ABC NewsRadio.
"It's a very expensive thing to do and the range in which we've reduced it has almost no impact on student learning.
"There are much better ways we could have spent our funds."
But the Government believes it is possible to improve teacher quality at the same time as reducing class sizes, and it says the Opposition's plan would result in fewer teachers and "massive" classes.
"I'm not sure that Christopher Pyne's plan to sack teachers and increase class sizes is the answer to the challenge we face in education," acting School Education Minister Chris Evans told ABC News Online.
Educator backs call for teacher quality, not quantity (ABC Online)