Work on virtual academy position statement underway
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 128 No 3, 5 May 2023, page no. 15
The department’s Equity and Excellence vision, which was released for consultation in 2022 and has been launched this year, states as an action in the system initiatives: “establish a virtual academy to enhance access across the state to teaching expertise.”
While this is a small part of the department’s plan, the implications for our members’ industrial conditions and workload are many, and they must be addressed. This is to ensure that existing digital learning providers are supported, and that areas of concern such as IT infrastructure, student/teacher ratios, health and safety, training and professional development and appropriate resourcing are considered.
A virtual academy must be more than a way to address a teacher shortage across the state. Online modes of educational instruction must not be implemented because they are easier or more cost effective.
The department has conducted a review of virtual education services and is nearing the completion of a report, with recommendations.
In consultation with members, QTU Acting Campaign Communications Project Officer Beck Humphreys has developed a virtual education services review submission. This will be expanded upon by a working party of QTU members to form the basis of a QTU virtual learning academy/virtual learning position statement.
Along with Beck Humphreys, I will be leading the working party, which includes members from across our schools. Meetings are to commence early this term.
At the forefront of our thinking is the development of a position that:
- delivers a set of basic guidelines for the delivery of virtual learning across all workplaces
- delivers clear workplace health and safety practices in the digital age
- considers service obligations as per the Education (General Provisions) Act
- ensures that workload, industrial entitlements, legal requirements are adhered to
- ensures that existing distance education facilities are not diminished in the creation of a virtual academy.
Consultation is ongoing. The QTU will not support implementation of a virtual academy until guidelines are developed and enforced.