By Meg Rayner - The Courier in Australia

They are the minority in every staff room but are highly in demand.

Male teachers make up just one-fifth of the teaching population in Victorian state schools.

In the Grampians region, there are 700 male teachers and 1328 female teachers in state schools.

For the Catholic diocese of Ballarat, there are 934 female teachers and just 397 males.

The State Government is calling for more male teachers in classrooms, with concerns that many boys are lacking male role models.

Ballarat teacher Andy Lamond recently finished his degree and is now known as “Mr Lamond” to his Prep/Grade 1 class at St Columba’s Primary School.

He said while studying at Australian Catholic University, it was obvious teaching was a profession dominated by females.

“We worked out there was one guy to 11 girls in our course,” the 22-year-old said.

“I think a lot of girls tend to fall into teaching, whereas teaching isn’t something that guys tend to fall into.

“If guys fall into a job it’s usually more of a trade.”

At St Columba’s PS, there are three male classroom teachers, and a male principal, which Mr Lamond said was very unusual.

The Government currently has four targeted teacher recruitment programs, the Maths and Science Scholarship, Teaching Scholarship Scheme, Teach For Australia and the Career Change Program.

So far, the initiatives have been successful in attracting male teachers and 45.2 per cent of new teachers appointed under these programs in 2009 and 2010 were male.

“Male teachers are crucial role models for school-aged children and I urge all men to consider teaching as a career-path,” Education minister Bronwyn Pike said.

“Both men and women make wonderful teachers _ but I recognise the importance of children having both male and female role models at school.”