Australia will invest 13.6 million U.S. dollars to address poor teaching standards and the nation's slump down in the international literacy and numeracy rankings, the country's education minister announced on Thursday.
The grant will be used over four years to implement key findings from the government's Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG) report which found shortcomings in teaching degrees.
Education Minister Christopher Pyne said the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) would ensure teacher graduates are "classroom ready."
"It's not possible to provide young Australians with a first- rate education without first-rate teachers," Pyne said in a press statement on Thursday.
"The investment I announce today shows we are serious when it comes to ensuring young Australians get the best education available by making sure our teachers are better trained."
With the funding, the AITSL would overhaul the in-class practice element of teaching degrees with a focus on how to teach reading, writing and phonics, Pyne said.
Primary school teachers will be encouraged to specialize in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and languages.
The TEMAG review found generalized degrees were leading to a lack in confidence in the teaching of maths and sciences.
Universities' entry requirements will be clearer as will the instructions outlining what the universities must do to gain course accreditation.
"This will include how each course should be designed and how this ensures that teachers gain the skills they need," Pyne said.
"To gain full course accreditation universities will need to show that their graduates are classroom ready, demonstrate how their graduates are having a positive impact on student learning, and that employers are satisfied with the graduates they produce."
The 2012 Program for International Student Assessment showed, in maths and sciences, a growing number of low-performing students and a shrinking number of high-performing students in Australia, when compared to the 2003 test.