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Teachers to lose their voice under new legislation

13 March 2014
Immediate Release
Teachers will fight loss of voice on Government’s new Teachers Council

Government legislation which will remove the right of teachers to directly elect their own professional body and devalues the teaching profession will be opposed by teachers, says NZEI Te Riu Roa.

The Education Amendment Bill to establish the new Education Council of New Zealand (EDUCANZ) had its first reading in Parliament today.

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Judith Nowotarski says a strong and independent teaching council is needed to uphold the teaching profession, protect the public interest and ensure quality teaching and learning for all children.

“Extensive consultation last year showed the sector clearly wanted an independent body whose members were directly elected out of the profession by the profession, along with appointments made in the public interest.”
She says consultation and public polling also shows an overwhelming number of teachers and the public want all children to have a qualified and registered teacher. The new legislation extends the status of people with limited authority to teach and exempts unqualified people acting as teachers in charter schools.
“The Minister claims to be providing independence, valuing teaching and fully entrusting the profession and yet she undermines the teaching profession and puts children at risk by lowering standards for charter schools, and retains the right to directly appoint every member. This position is totally contradictory.

“This was a missed opportunity to create a truly independent professional body with the full confidence of the sector,” she said.

“NZEI welcomes the move to make the council an independent statutory body, but how can it be independent when all of its governance is directly appointed by a politician? There will be a lack of ‘ownership’ by members.”

“There is not even mention of a requirement for the majority of members to be teachers, which doesn’t make sense in an organisation required to promote and monitor the standards of the profession,” said Judith Nowotarski.

The new Education Council will replace the Teachers Council as the regulatory and professional body of teachers.

ENDS

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