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66% Of Primary Teachers Think About Leaving NZ

The New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA) has released research today that shows that 66% of surveyed primary teachers have considered leaving New Zealand because of their student debt, and 28% have considered leaving teaching completely.

NZUSA has released the Teachers Debt Casebook at their Workforce Issues Debt Summit in Christchurch today. The research, conducted by NZUSA with support from NZEI Te Riu Roa, is a survey of 158 beginning primary teachers, and the impact student debt has on their lives.

“It’s clear that student debt is having a devastating impact on our primary teachers,” said Andrew Campbell, NZUSA Co-President. “We found that they owed an average total debt of $21,193 at graduation. The vast majority of this debt is through the government student loan scheme, but there was also significant amounts owed to banks and to family and partners.”

The survey found that debt impacted on many aspects of the teachers’ lives – from where they lived, to how they could care for their children and on all their major financial decisions.

A third of the respondents said that their student loan had impacted on their decision to have children, and 70% said their debt had an impact on their ability to save for their retirement.

“Teachers are vital to the development of our society and our economy,” said Andrew Campbell. “This is the first time we have looked at the impact of student loans on teachers. The government should sit up and take notice if they want to have a workforce of experienced teachers in the years to come.”

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