For Use 22nd May 2008
Cuts To Teacher Education Will Have Serious Consequences
Victoria University must consider the consequences of cutting teacher education staff and resources at the Wellington College of Education, says the education sector union, NZEI.
The College merged with the University in 2005 and now the University is proposing to cut over 15% of College staff and close down its resource centre. It is blaming the cutbacks on the College's $1.8 million budget over-run.
NZEI represents thousands of teachers and teacher trainees and says the University's plans are ill-conceived and will seriously impact on the quality of teacher training programmes.
Downsizing staff numbers will push up student:lecturer ratios, limit the range of programmes, and lead to a loss of skills and experience within the College itself.
It will also affect the supervision of teacher trainees and beginning teachers in schools, as well as the professional development of teachers in the Wellington region.
NZEI says at a time when the country is crying out for teachers, it does not make sense for Victoria University to be compromising the quality of teacher education.
NZEI Central Regional Secretary Carol Parker says "not only will the cutbacks put teacher training at risk but the recent spike in the birth rate means it will exacerbate the teacher shortage further down the line."
NZEI says the University must look further than its bottom line and consider the integrity and future of the Wellington College of Education. NZEI members will be supporting staff and students in protesting the University's plans at the Karori Campus today.