Deputy First Minister John Swinney visited Dundee on Thursday to announce a new fast-track course in a bid to tackle the country’s teacher recruitment crisis.
The course aims to plug staff shortages in science, maths and technology subjects by encouraging professionals to start a new career in the classroom.
Mr Swinney announced the new initiative at the city’s St Francis Primary School.
The new pathway into teaching, which will be run at Dundee and the Highlands and Islands universities, will run from December 2018 until June 2020.
Its aim is to produce up to 50 new teachers for rural schools, which are finding it particularly difficult to fill posts.
Mr Swinney said: “We know that some areas face challenges in recruiting teachers in certain subject areas and this means that we need to think differently about how we attract new recruits into the classroom.
“This innovative proposal is designed to broaden the range of people entering the profession — providing a challenging, yet extremely rewarding, opportunity to train in rural schools within areas of high deprivation.”
Aimed at high-performing professionals, it is open to graduates with a 2:1 honours degree in chemistry, physics, home economics, maths and engineering.
They would qualify with a Masters-level diploma in teaching.
Kenneth Muir, chief executive of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), said he had potential concerns about fast-tracking people into the classroom.
He added: “Any new routes into teaching must meet the high quality benchmark of the GTCS standards for registration.”
Professor Teresa R Moran, from the University of Dundee, said they were working with rural councils and would be looking to recruit “high calibre” candidates.