Teachers Risk Losing Their Voting Rights
27 June 2002
Teachers Risk Losing Their Voting Rights In Council Election
The New Zealand Teachers Council is concerned that many teachers risk not being able to vote for their representatives on Council in the election to be held later this year.
Teachers have the opportunity to elect four teacher representatives to their new Council in its first election. These teacher representatives will be elected by teachers from the early childhood, primary and secondary sectors, with the fourth representative for principals. All registered teachers with a current practising certificate are eligible to vote on one of the four rolls: Early Childhood, Primary, Secondary or Principal.
“We are very concerned that teachers are at risk of losing their voting rights. Too few teachers have so far notified the Teachers Council of which roll they are eligible to vote on,” said Harvey McQueen, Teachers Council Interim Director.
“Teachers need to advise us which roll they will be on and this will usually be the one for the sector in which they qualified and in which they are or were most recently employed. However a primary school principal could elect to be on either the primary roll or the principals roll and the teachers in area schools would also face a choice.”
To ensure that as many teachers as possible can vote, the Teachers Council recently sent a letter to all teachers with a current practising certificate informing them about the role and functions of the new Council, its establishment funding and the new professional fee that replaced the registration fee. That information included a Teachers Council Elections form for teachers to update their details and select their electoral roll. The elections are planned to be held in early October. Until the four elected representatives take their seats the Council does not become fully operational.
“It could be that many teachers have either moved since they last registered and we don’t have their current address or that they have simply mislaid the form. However, unless we know which roll they wish to vote on, they run the risk of losing their vote in the Council’s first election. That would be most unfortunate.”
Any teachers who have not received an information pack from the Teachers Council, including an update form for the election by 30 June, are asked to contact the Council now on 04 472 6031, e-mail the Council via firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more about the Council and the elections on www.teacherscouncil.govt.nz.
The New Zealand Teachers Council has been established by the Education Standards Act 2001 as the professional body to teachers. It replaces the Teachers Registration Board and registered teachers form a majority on the Council.
The Council, which came into being in February this year will take up its full responsibilities after teachers elect their Council Members in the election later this year.
“We need to ensure that all teachers who are eligible to vote in the Council election have the opportunity to do so. Teachers have wanted a professional organisation of their own for over 50 years and now that it has become a reality, it would be a great pity if their representatives on Council did not receive the widest mandate possible,” said Mr McQueen.