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Education Job Cuts Short-sighted With Serious Implications

The axing of more than 500 positions at the Ministry of Education is short-sighted, makes no sense, and will have serious implications in the long term, says Chris Abercrombie, PPTA Te Wehengarua president.

“First and foremost, we want to express our concern and sympathy to the huge number of people who are losing their jobs because of the Government’s stubborn commitment to tax cuts that it cannot afford.
We are talking about people’s livelihoods here and it must be incredibly stressful and worrying – everyone who has been told today that they no longer have a job is in our thoughts. Kia kaha.

He says the number of jobs being cut at the Ministry of Education was equivalent to the staffing of 10 average-sized secondary schools.

“Sadly, we have seen situations before where Ministry of Education positions are done away with, only to create a gaping hole in essential work and support for schools and teachers further down the track.
“I have no doubt that this is the case today. One area that troubles us greatly is the cut to staffing in the NCEA change and curriculum refresh programmes. These programmes are at the heart of teaching and learning and young people’s qualifications and opportunities.

“The work will still need to be done and it will most likely mean school leaders and teachers will pick up the shortfall, creating further pressure on an already straining system.

“Staffing cuts in these areas make a bit of a mockery of the Education Minister’s announcement recently about slowing down implementation of the NCEA levels 2 and 3 changes.
“The extension of the timeline was meant to enable more work to be done on the curriculum changes and ensure that the assessment changes were developed as effectively and robustly as possible.

“How can this happen when you’re axing a whole team of staff whose jobs were dedicated to this?

“These cuts will have serious ramifications – maybe not immediately but increasingly over the next couple of years.”

Chris Abercrombie said PPTA Te Wehengarua appreciated the Ministry’s offer of a briefing later this week to get more details of the cuts and the implications.

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