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Launch of VUW and WCE Conjoint Teacher Programme

Hon Trevor Mallard
Launch of VUW and WCE Conjoint Teacher Education Programme

I'm very pleased to be here today to help launch the new conjoint degree to be offered by Victoria University and Wellington College of Education.

As you know, I agreed to grant an exemption from the teacher education moratorium, so that the university and the college could proceed with this project.

I am very much in favour of this new qualification, which I think combines the best of all worlds in teacher preparation.

One of the reasons that it is attractive to government is that it allows for a much more flexible, portable profession. There's no point in denying that we need such a workforce to enhance teacher supply.

Graduates will have a qualification that could enable them to move with ease between primary and secondary teaching. This pathway, that enables a student teacher to obtain a BSc, a BCA or a BA as well as a BTeach, ensures also that prospective teachers will have in-depth knowledge of content in at least one area of the curriculum, and the pedagogical content knowledge required in teaching.

Everything we know about teacher quality suggests this is the approach most likely to produce capable teachers of tomorrow.

We need creative, imaginative teachers with good interpersonal skills who are adept at problem solving and information management. They need to be able to educate children and young people in these skills.

We need graduates who can ensure our students are numerate and literate.

We need graduates who are capable of providing quality teaching for diverse students.

I think it's important too, to acknowledge today the part that schools, especially those in the Wellington area, will play in this especially in relation to practicums. The conjoint degree will open up new avenues for education partnerships within Wellington.

As you know, there has been considerable discussion with stakeholders and the Ministry about the value of qualifications in teaching. The ADR (Arbitration Disputes Resolution) findings, the Qualifications Working Party which is looking at differentiating between three and four year degrees, and the Secondary Remuneration Taskforce have all dealt with or will deal with acknowledging the place of four year teaching qualifications.

A mix of a general degree as well as a tailored teaching qualification, will stack up with many international qualifications, where four years of teacher education is the minimum or at least the norm.

I want to think that we can attract the best people into teaching and then provide them with the best possible education for the job. The Tertiary Education Strategy suggests that collaborations between colleges of education and universities are the best sites for this to occur.

Many current Ministry supply initiatives are aimed at attracting good people into areas where we are experiencing, or know we will experience shortages. I acknowledge that we may need to extend some of these scholarships, allowances and other initiatives. This should have a positive impact on the willingness of students to undertake extra years of study.

And now it gives me much pleasure to declare the conjoint programmes officially open and to invite students to enrol.

ENDS

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