11 September 2012
Looming teacher shortage – wake up call for Government
The Government needs to work with the education sector to resolve the looming teacher shortage, says NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter.
Mr Goulter says it’s important that the Government makes a commitment to keep the best teachers in front of students rather than going down the path of increased class sizes and allowing unqualified people to act as teachers in charter schools.
“Increased class sizes may have been put on hold earlier this year due to reaction from parents. But that doesn’t mean the Government has walked away from that policy, and it could still re-emerge as its preferred answer to any teacher shortage.”
“Instead, it is important that the Government commits to tackling the teacher shortage by good planning and maintaining good quality teaching and learning. That means keeping the best teachers in the classrooms.”
Projections show that school rolls will continue to increase steadily for the next seven years and this will be exacerbated by a large cohort of teachers reaching retirement age.
“Allowing unqualified people to act as teachers in charter schools is clearly another attempt to deal with the teacher shortage. But that will simply reduce both the quality of teaching and the number of qualified teachers in front of students.”
He says the early childhood sector is another area where the Government has shown short sightedness.
“Once again, the emphasis should be on ensuring good quality teaching instead of reducing the ratio of qualified teachers in our early childhood centres.”
Mr Goulter says the Government’s policy of attacking teachers and the politicisation of the sector has been a big turnoff for many student teachers.
“Instead of attacking teachers for political purposes, the Government should show leadership and work with the sector to attract good students into teaching.”