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Teacher Shortage Compromises Education for 1000s

Dr Nick Smith National Education Spokesperson

28 January 2003

Teacher Shortage Will Compromise Secondary Education for Thousands

A record shortage of 376 teachers will compromise the standard of education for thousands of secondary school students and responsibility for this mess lies fairly and squarely with the Government, according to National Education spokesman Nick Smith.

"It is completely unacceptable that on the day before students return for the 2003 school year we still have 376 vacancies in our secondary schools.

"Thousands of students will be without a teacher tomorrow," says Dr Smith.

"The growth is secondary school rolls has been entirely predictable.

"The Government response has been too little, too late.

"Only last year Trevor Mallard dismissed the concern about teacher shortages saying it was just a negotiating ploy of the teacher's unions," says Dr Smith.

"These figures show the problem is real and getting worse.

"When National was in Government we faced a similar blip in the primary school rolls - which was predicted ahead of time and teacher training was refocused accordingly so that no class went without a teacher," Dr Smith says.

"We now have a situation where the Government's teacher training system is producing far too many primary teachers, and not enough secondary teachers.

"Add to this the failure to settle the teachers' pay dispute quickly, and the resultant departure overseas of many teachers, and the finger of blame for this shortage points squarely at Mr Mallard and the Labour Government.

"It's time Trevor Mallard fronted up to the children and parents of New Zealand and explained why, for the third year running, he has failed to ensure ever class is fronted by a qualified teacher," says Dr Smith.


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