Voice of profession ignored – PPTA
The government is clearly determined to pay only lip service to the hundreds of secondary teachers who gave the Education Amendment Bill (No 2) a resounding “no” through written and oral submissions.
In the Education and Science Select Committee report back to parliament, there are only minimal changes to the bill, which threatens to undermine the teaching profession and places students at risk.
While the committee’s recommendations were passed “by majority” they were not unanimous, with reports from a number of members reflecting this, PPTA president Angela Roberts said
“The committee was clearly strongly divided,” she said.
The bill dismantles the New Zealand Teachers Council and replaces it with a new body – the Educational Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (EDUCANZ).
One of the biggest risks of the new body was the danger in which it placed students by threatening the council’s core functions, Roberts said.
EDUCANZ has a range of overly ambitious functions that stray into territory outside the domain of a registration body, she said.
“The real risk is the loss of the council’s basic functions as it becomes subject to a political agenda,” she said.
“Teachers, parents, students and the wider community want a registration body that focuses on ensuring only those teachers who are competent and safe among young people are able to enter or remain in the teaching profession. Loading the council with all these other functions threatens that.”
A major concern among teachers who submitted on the bill was the fact there would be no elected teacher voice on the council as all members would be appointed by the minister of education, Roberts said.
“The government has attempted to throw teachers a bone by changing the teacher membership of the council from ‘a maximum of five registered teachers’ to ‘at least five registered and currently practising teachers’ – but those teachers will still be appointed by the minister. There is no guarantee they will be people the profession would choose to represent them.”
The name EDUCANZ also reflected distain for the profession.
“This name would make it unique among teacher registration bodies across the world in not mentioning ‘teachers’ or ‘teaching’ in its title,” Roberts said.
The amended bill did not meet teachers’ bottom lines for a council that will represent them, she said.
“There are no elections, no union nominees and practising teachers will be a bare majority appointed by the minister.”
Roberts encouraged teachers to strengthen their existing body by voting in the upcoming New Zealand Teachers Council elections.
“The committee has ignored us so we need to fight for our voice by using the existing channel,” she said.