Staff cuts at Auckland University because of dropping enrolments for initial teacher education (ITE) are another sign that bold measures are needed to turn around New Zealand’s growing teacher shortage.
NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart said teachers’ huge workload and the low pay they received for their level of skills, qualifications and responsibilities was pushing people out of the profession and deterring many others from entering.
“If we don’t take some bold steps now, we’ll be looking at classrooms of 40 children within a few years. We have to act now and stop this crisis from turning into a disaster for our students.”
NZEI had warned that Budget 2018’s extra funding for another 1500 ITE places was putting the cart before the horse because unless teaching could be made more attractive, the number of students enrolling in teacher training would continue to stagnate or decline.
“Primary teachers and principals are currently in negotiations to renew their collective agreements. We’re asking for a 16% pay rise over two years and more planning and assessment time so we have time to teach, time to lead and time to meet the needs of our students without completely burning ourselves out,” said Ms Stuart.