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Many kids will never have a male teacher

Thursday, 14 September 2006

Many kids will never have a male teacher

United Future deputy leader Judy Turner today sounded the alarm over the disturbingly low number of male primary school teachers throughout New Zealand.

"We desperately need male teachers in primary schools to provide both quality care and education, and provide positive male role models for our young children, particularly boys," said Mrs turner, a former primary teacher.

"Nationally, 18% of all primary school teachers were male for the years 2003-2006, down from 19% in 2002.

"Last year's national intake suggests that things are not getting any better, and figures of beginning teachers entering primary schools show that 1,133 females began teaching in 2005, compared with only 267 males.

"This is a huge problem that has not been adequately addressed or acknowledged by the Government.

"The TeachNZ website itself states that we 'need more male teachers to address this imbalance', and notes that 'many children do not experience male teachers until secondary school'.

"With so many children growing up in solo-parent families in New Zealand, the fact that many of these children never have a male primary teachers is of great concern."

In an answer to a Parliamentary question from Mrs Turner asking what has been done to encourage men into primary teaching, Education Minister Steve Maharey said that, 'The Government is continuing to make teaching as attractive to men as for women?'

"I am deeply discouraged that the Minister appears to think that his Government has made - and continues to make - primary school teaching 'as attractive to men as for women', given that last year only 267 of 1400 new teachers were male," said Mrs Turner.

"More needs to be done to make primary teaching an attractive option for young men to consider as a profession. The first thing that needs to occur is for our Education Minister to accept that we have a major problem.

"We are now seeing boys at secondary school leaving at early ages, in far larger numbers than girls, without qualifications. Some of these boys have no father at home, and have never had a male teacher," said Mrs Turner.


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