The University of Canberra will receive $26 million in federal funding to establish a new institute that will improve national teaching and learning standards.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher announced on Thursday that the UC would house a new Centre for Quality Teaching and Learning, which will deliver professional teaching skills and applied research to support the introduction of the Government’s National Plan for School Improvement reforms.
The national plan underpins the Gonski reforms, which the ACT agreed to on Thursday.
Ms Gallagher said that while the $26 million institute was "a separate proposal in its own right", it had sweetened the Gonski deal.
"One of the concerns we had as a high-performing jurisdiction already at the level the Commonwealth wants us to perform at ... how could we value add to that?" Ms Gallagher said.
"This will help take our teaching … to another level."
The institute would directly benefit the ACT’s teaching workforce but "will have a national focus in raising standards in teaching reflective under the national plan".
University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Parker welcomed the announcement, saying the UC was the ideal place to locate the centre, "which will give teachers the tools they need to deliver the next phase of school improvement in Australia".
"We have a strong track record in training excellent teachers and in delivering the kind of applied research that delivers real improvements in the classroom. Plus we have strong and productive partnerships in education in Australia and Asia," he said.
"Our research and teaching in education is supported by the new INSPIRE Centre, which was established with Commonwealth and ACT Government support and which is at the cutting edge of technology in education – supporting today’s teachers and shaping tomorrow’s classrooms."
The new centre will collaborate with universities, researchers and teachers to support professional development for teachers to grow and develop, find new ways to be more effective and assist in the implementation of systems for continuous teacher performance feedback.
"School students and school teachers will benefit enormously from this, but there will be wider benefits to the ACT economy by further developing Canberra as a destination for education and research, creating jobs and ensuring our school and university graduates have the latest skills they need to thrive in a competitive knowledge economy," Professor Parker said.
The university recently combined its teaching and research in science and mathematics into its education faculty, creating the Faculty of Education, Science, Technology and Mathematics, which Professor Parker said will help boost science and maths teaching in schools.