A $16 MILLION federal Labor commitment to stem the shortage of maths and science teachers by fast-tracking bankers, accountants and engineers into classrooms has recruited only 14 participants.
The Teach Next scheme was announced by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, during the 2010 election, when she promised that Labor would bring 450 mid-career professionals into teaching over four years.
Teach Next was supposed to help address teacher shortages in regional and hard-to-staff schools and reduce the numbers teaching outside subject areas.
However, just 14 participants have been placed in schools after two intakes and every state and territory, except Victoria and the ACT, has declined to participate or has pulled out.
Half of the promised funding - $8.1 million - had been redirected to Teach for Australia, a program that places high-achieving non-teaching graduates in disadvantaged schools.
Participants in Teach Next are parachuted into schools after six weeks' intensive training at Victoria's Deakin University, eventually earning a postgraduate diploma of teaching after two years. Grants of up to $10,000 are offered to contribute to course costs and assist with relocation.
''This is about bringing people into teaching from all walks of life,'' Ms Gillard said when she announced the scheme at her old school in Adelaide, Unley High, in 2010. ''Teach Next will help reduce teacher shortages in crucial subject areas like maths and science and help create a teaching workforce with greater diversity.''
Associate Professor Damian Blake, from the school of education at Deakin University, said Teach Next had attracted a lot of very highly qualified people.
The first intake of the program last year attracted 71 applications and the second attracted 521 applications.
However, Professor Blake said the program had been stymied by different legislation and regulations in each state and territory. Some jurisdictions did not allow people to teach in schools unless they were fully qualified while others had requirements on teaching certain subjects.
A NSW education department spokesman said NSW had agreed to take 10 Teach Next recruits during the first year of the program, but only two candidates were identified as eligible.
A spokeswoman for the federal School Education Minister, Peter Garrett, said the number of states which had chosen not to offer vacancies had reduced the number of teachers taking part.