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Educational Psychology Students Shocked To Learn Of Government’s Plans To Reduce Student Training Placements

A group of post-graduate Educational Psychology students has expressed their surprise and disappointment at learning of the government’s decision to cut student internship placements with the Ministry of Education from 32 places to 21 across Aotearoa, New Zealand in 2022. This decision comes at a time when demand for psychological support for schools has increased, with waitlists in 2020 of up to 3000 children and young people. The ongoing challenges of Covid-19 have also resulted in increased need.

Incredibly, at the same time as the students learned of these drastic cuts to placements, which will directly affect their ability to enter the workforce as locally trained, registered educational psychologists, Ministry of Education-employed psychologists are engaged in industrial action to highlight their high caseloads and lack of retention of psychologist staff.

The group of students has expressed their concern that, if they are not properly supported to take the final step towards registration as psychologists, some will have little choice but to take up positions outside of public education or choose alternative career pathways. This will result in a loss of investment in their bi-cultural training and talent for the education sector. “The feedback from students is that while they are apprehensive about their own futures, they are even more concerned that Aotearoa New Zealand’s most vulnerable tamariki and rangatahi will be left without the support that they so desperately need,” explained Katrina Stephenson, Student Representative for the Institute of Educational and Developmental Psychology.

At a time when children, young people, whānau and schools need support more than ever, this group of students is urging the government to not only reverse the decision to reduce student training placements but to consider increasing the placement numbers to encourage more locally and bi-culturally trained, registered psychologists into an already struggling workforce.

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