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Report On Shortage Of Men In Primary Teaching

Report On Shortage Of Men In Primary Teaching

A report commissioned by NZEI Te Riu Roa highlights the reasons men are not becoming primary teachers and looks at the benefits to be gained from reversing this trend.

The report, by education consultant and former director of the New Zealand Council for Education Research, Ian Livingstone, is being launched at the union’s Annual Meeting in Wellington today.

The report has found that there are three main reasons why men are not studying to become teachers.

Men are concerned that as a primary teacher there may be physical contact with children and that will put them at risk of being accused of sex abuse.

Men think primary teaching is seen as a low status job because the profession has a high proportion of women.

Men see primary teachers’ pay as being too low.

The report shows there are far more women primary teachers than men and that the number of men is falling

In 1992 there were 22,289 primary teachers, 22.1%(4925) were men, 77.9% (17,364) were women. In 2001 there were 24,119 primary teachers, 18.4% (4433) were men, 81.6% (19,686) were women.

In that period the number of women primary teachers has increased by 13%. The number of men has fallen by 9%.

The low proportion of men primary teachers is not unique to New Zealand. In 1999 men made up only 23% of the primary teaching workforce in 23 OECD countries. The figure quoted for New Zealand was 18%, Canada 32%, Britain 24%, Ireland 15% and the United States 13%.

The report says there is concern in New Zealand and overseas about this situation because research shows that there are benefits of having more men in primary teaching. These are It should enhance boys’ motivation to achieve academically.

It would provide more male role models for boys and help counter behaviour such as bullying and truancy.

It would make primary teaching more representative of the community.

NOTE: The book, Men in Primary Teaching in New Zealand, is being launched at 5.45pm at the Duxton Hotel, in the Ballroom 6th Floor. Reporters are free to talk to the author, Ian Livingstone, or NZEI president, Bruce Adin, about the book before the launch.

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