Fast track to get NSW teachers qualified

The qualification period for university graduates wanting to become teachers in NSW will be halved in a bid to attract more people into the profession.

A NSW Productivity Commission report released on Wednesday recommended reintroducing a one-year diploma, due to the economic impacts of rampant teacher shortages across the state.

Premier Dominic Perrottet has backed the proposal to get graduates in the classroom as soon as they complete the one-year postgraduate course.

"For those who already have an undergraduate degree we want a more streamlined approach for them to start a teaching career," he said in a statement on Wednesday.

"I don't want a single person who is considering starting this fantastic career to be deterred by an unnecessary additional year in their training."

Less than two months out from the NSW election, the chronic teacher shortage remains a hot-button issue as Education Department figures show 3311 vacancies across the state in November.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the current two-year masters degree requirement was a disincentive for aspiring teachers, particularly mid-career professionals.

But NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos characterised the proposal as a "gimmick" by an "out of touch" government.

"Fast-tracking unqualified teachers into the classroom is not the solution. The time it takes to do a degree is not a barrier, that's called a qualification," he told reporters on Wednesday.

He said enrolment into initial teacher education had dropped by 30 per cent and drop out rates had soared to 50 per cent in recent years.

"The answer is in addressing the fundamental problems which are turning people off teaching - unsustainable workloads, uncompetitive salaries and insecure work," he said.

Current standards for a two-year postgraduate degree for teachers were introduced under national reforms in 2011 and NSW adopted the requirement in 2014.

Labor's education spokesperson Prue Car also lambasted the "last-minute" proposal on Wednesday as a "disingenuous" policy to dealing with the structural problems causing the state-wide teacher shortage.

NSW Secondary Principals' Council president Craig Petersen said reversing the change had been in the works for some time and attitudes within the industry varied.

"We've got to be very careful that at the time when we're saying we need to improve the status of teaching that we don't actually undermine it by reducing the rigour of the academic qualifications you need to actually be a teacher," he said.

"It's one thing to know all about maths for example, but you've got to then know how to teach that to a 12-year-old, to a 15-year old who's not interested, to a highly motivated student doing the HSC."

Productivity Commissioner Peter Achterstraat said the change to the two-year diploma was well-intentioned but had resulted in worse outcomes for students and teachers.

"We are now able to show that any benefits the longer qualification hoped to achieve are outweighed by the cost in teacher and student outcomes," he said.

Those with an undergraduate degree would be able to complete a one-year full-time postgraduate degree in order to become a secondary school teacher from 2024.

Streamlined postgraduate pathways for primary school teachers are due to be available by 2026.