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Technology in schools faces crisis

Media Release

27 September 2006

Technology in schools faces crisis

The technology curriculum is in danger of imploding as schools struggle to recruit and retain qualified technology teachers, PPTA Executive member Penney Dunckley said today.

Dunckley said interim results from PPTA’s 2006 teachers of technology survey[1] reinforced what teachers had been reporting for some time:

- Inappropriately qualified teachers are being required to teach technology

- 62 per cent of survey respondents reported an inability to recruit new technology teachers

- Schools face difficulties finding relief teachers of technology (meaning existing technology teachers can’t take study leave)

- The lack of new technology trainees, due to the G3 issue[2] and higher salaries in the trades, and the median age of current technology teachers (50) suggests that the supply of technology teachers will continue to worsen

“Technology teachers, in whichever area they are needed, are becoming increasingly difficult to replace.

“The Ministry of Education survey of staffing in 2006 shows that vacancies in technology represent 19.7% of all vacancies in secondary schools, with hard materials and food technology worst hit

“It does not help that some teacher training institutions will not train senior technology teachers any more.”

“The G3 issue has contributed to this crisis of recruitment and retention and although the G3 diplomas may be resolving some historical matters for G3 teachers, there is no certainty yet for future teachers and the technology curriculum.

“The Government says it is keen to encourage students to learn basic trade skills as well as more advanced technology while at school, but the length of time taken to solve the G3 issue indicates the low priority that is placed on the real needs of the students and teachers in the affected areas.

“There needs to be urgent action from Government to overcome the difficulties posed by the current degree-based qualifications structure to recruit suitable people into technology training courses.

“If nothing is done in the very near future to attract trained and qualified people to this area, technology as a subject will die of natural causes. For the sake of our country, students and teachers deserve better.”

ENDS

[1] PPTA’s survey of technology teachers will be released later this year.

[2] G3, or degree-equivalent teachers are teachers whose trade and vocational qualifications were formerly considered equal to a bachelor’s degree for pay purposes, but following a decision of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Panel in 2003, many have been barred from the top step 14 of the pay scale.

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