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Lack of planning in teacher oversupply

5 July 2013

Lack of planning in teacher oversupply

NZEI Te Riu Roa says the number of beginning teachers seeking jobs is proof of lack of planning by Government and labour market failure.

NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter says NZEI has consistently called for proper labour market planning to get around the problem of excess of supply and demand of teachers.

“Not being able to get a job damages the aspirations of beginning teachers and has ramifications for principals and their responsibilities in supporting the profession.”

It is not relevant for the Minister of Tertiary Education to blame the global financial crisis for this oversupply – education is in the public sector and the Government needs to take some responsibility for this, says NZEI Te Riu Roa national secretary Paul Goulter.

“The Government has stepped away from this problem.

“There are hundreds of teacher graduates who do who cannot get jobs as beginning teachers. Too many are coming out of university with nowhere to go. We will lose these people to overseas – people who have benefited from our tertiary education system. It makes no sense to train teachers and then have them leave the profession.

“Many beginning teachers if they can get jobs need support and mentoring, they often have short fixed term contracts and this mean that they are also racking up a huge student debt. No wonder they go overseas and it’s a huge loss to this country.”

Mr Goulter says there is an oversupply in large metropolitan areas but there is regional variation - some rural areas are under-supplied.

He says the problem has always been cyclical and is often dependant on birthrates and consequently the number of children entering schools, as well as the demographic of the teachers themselves.

“Reducing class sizes and increasing support and mentoring of beginning teachers would go a long way toward fixing the problem.

“The different parties in education – The Teachers Council, the education unions and the Ministry of Education should sit down and work out a better system.”


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