The National Party may have finally woken up to the teacher supply crisis facing our schools but their latest half-baked, rushed announcement falls well short of the mark in terms of what’s required, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.
“This is yet another attempt by the National Party to play catch-up.
“The $5.2 million to fund more teachers is less than the amount they’ve cut from TeachNZ since taking office.
“They’ve continually denied that there is a shortage of teachers and even cut programmes that were designed to recruit graduates into the profession claiming they weren’t needed. Now they’re trying yet again to make up for lost time.
“The National Party has spent the past decade running down the teaching profession, lowering its status, and imposing an ever-growing list of low-trust accountability measures on teachers that have driven people away from the job they love.
“Today’s announcements still don’t deal with some of the most fundamental issues facing the profession, such as the disconnect between who is being trained and the jobs available, the concerning number of teachers who complete their training and never complete their registration, and the critical shortages in areas like Auckland where the cost of living drives new teachers away.
“National’s decision to lift the moratorium on initial teacher education programmes suggests they’ve learned nothing from their previous failed experiment with a more-market approach to teacher training. The bums on seats model has failed and it’s time National woke up to that reality.
“Labour has a comprehensive plan to raise the status of teaching, recruit our best and brightest to the profession, improve the quality of teacher training, and retain teachers in the classroom for longer.
“We will start by giving teachers back their democratic right to elect their own professional body, raise entry criteria for teacher training programmes, and improve the quality of that training,” says Chris Hipkins.