The Early Childhood Council (ECC) says teacher shortages are not just a school issue, and it’s not just an Auckland problem.

The ECC says anecdotal evidence suggests the early childhood sector is also facing teacher shortages in its services.

The comments come after four education groups representing New Zealand’s principals and teachers have announced a sector-led plan to turn around the Auckland teacher crisis.

ECC Chief Executive Officer Peter Reynolds says informal information from early childhood centres suggests they too are finding it hard to get relievers and fill vacancies. He says the issue is not just an Auckland one and needs a fix.

“The ECC is writing to the Minister of Immigration to ask for the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment to add trained overseas teachers to the Skilled Migrant and Essential Skills policy list.

“That mechanism could make it easier for New Zealand employers of early childhood education (ECE) teachers to source appropriate, trained overseas candidates for roles, through the Skilled Migrant and Essential Skills policies,” says Mr Reynolds.

“Adding ECE-qualified and experienced overseas-trained teachers to the list would enable childcare centres to be fully staffed when they cannot find local candidates.”

The ECC also contacted the Ministry of Education and received advice that a special taskforce will work on resolving the teacher shortage.

However, the ECC understands this could take up to 15 years and does not offer any practical solution to the more than 2,600 licensed childcare centres throughout the country.

Can New Zealand afford this time lag?

The ECC recommends there be an urgent move to address the teacher shortages across the whole education sector, and one option is to look immediately at the Skilled Migrant and Essential Skills policies, rather than leaving this skill category to the usual annual review.

“How we value our education sector, early childhood teachers, and ECE service providers directly feeds into the quality learning outcomes for our country’s preschool-aged children,” says Mr Reynolds.

For more information please contact

ECC CEO Peter Reynolds Phone: 0800 742 742 or 028 258 22322 Email: ceo@ecc.org.nz Website: www.ecc.org.nz

ECC Senior Communications Officer Lucy Taylor Phone: 04 471 0399 Email: comms@ecc.org.nz

Source: Early Childhood Council

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