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Teacher Shortage Reaches Crisis Point

Sunday 6 Jan 2002

The teacher shortage, already at crisis point, will worsen through 2002, ACT Education Spokesman Donna Awatere Huata said today.

"Our best teachers are leaving in droves. The Government's response is to pump more inexperienced graduates out of failing teachers' colleges.

"Auckland is suffering from a chronic shortage. Throughout New Zealand, two hundred teachers a month are saying, `that's it, I've had enough'.

"I don't blame them. Teachers and principals are being swamped with far too much paperwork. This Government needs to get out of the business of creating endless bureaucracy, and allow our teachers to tend to their classes.

"Trevor Mallard has underestimated the number of teachers needed. Poor training and misdirected resources add to the problem: quality teachers are being replaced by inexperienced graduates.

"Ministry of Education is fobbing off at least 15 classrooms of children to the Correspondence School. My parliamentary questions also show that some children have been without a teacher for up to six months. That's unfair. We are subjecting our children to completely inadequate learning at the most important stage in their lives. Kids deserve to have a teacher at the front of their classroom - it's as simple as that.

"Struggling to fill the gaps will stretch more teachers to breaking point. The tension will hurt already over-burdened principals and Boards of Trustees.

"Above all, this situation is unfair to the children. How can they hope to pass the most important exams of their lives if they don't have a teacher on-hand to provide advice and guidance?"

"Short-term measures will not help. Mr Mallard's promise to plug the gaps by March simply does not address the cause of the problem," Mrs Awatere Huata said.


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