A new survey has found that 87 per cent of public schools in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) have borne the brunt of casual teacher shortages.
According to the figures released by the NSW Department of Education, students in more than 9,800 lessons daily are being left without adequate support due to a 42 per cent shortfall in casual teachers.
The survey indicated that public schools have been wrestling with an average shortage of 3,000 casual teachers every day -- nearly half of what is required to meet the state's educational demand.
In primary schools, 40 per cent of the lessons unable to be covered by a casual teacher resulted in merged or collapsed classes, while students in nearly 28 per cent of high school lessons were left to their own devices with minimal supervision.
Across the most populated Australian state, situations were identified as significantly worse in parts of Sydney's west and south-west, rural and remote areas, and at schools for specific purposes.
The study also raised the alarm of a domino effect caused by the severe shortfall, including the cancellation of library lessons and programs providing additional support to those most in need.
"We already knew from listening to teachers and parents that NSW has been facing a teacher shortage crisis, leaving huge numbers of students without quality teaching every single day," said Prue Car, the state's deputy premier and minister for education and early learning.
The state government pledged that a number of programs and recruitment initiatives are in place or under development to attract more teachers. (IANS)